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KNORR BRAKE CORP. v. HARBIL

January 20, 1983

KNORR BRAKE CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARBIL, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Knorr Brake Corporation ("Knorr Brake") initially sued Harbil, Inc. ("Harbil") and P.E.P. Industries, Ltd. for rescission, breach of contract and injunctive relief based on their alleged breach of an agreement between Knorr Brake and Harbil. Harbil responded with a counterclaim charging Knorr (the collective term used in this opinion to denote Knorr Brake and its corporate parent, Knorr-Bremse GmbH ("Knorr-Bremse")) with various torts and breaches of contract and fiduciary duties. Harbil also moved to join seven individuals as additional counterdefendants,*fn1 but this Court denied that motion, 550 F. Supp. 476 (N.D.Ill. 1982).

Knorr have now moved:

(2) under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 ("Section 1927")*fn3 for an assessment against Harbil's attorneys requiring them to satisfy personally the excess costs, expenses and attorneys' fees reasonably incurred by Knorr in opposing Harbil's motion. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Knorr's motion for an assessment against Harbil is denied and for an assessment against Harbil's counsel*fn4 is granted.

Background

This opinion need not recount the procedural history of this action. See 550 F. Supp. at 477-78. Only Harbil's joinder motion is relevant here.

Harbil's Counter-Complaint Count V (¶ 39) alleged the seven individuals had conspired with Knorr to cause the injuries Harbil had asserted against Knorr in the four preceding counts. When that pleading was first tendered to this Court at one of its daily motion calls, this Court (having reviewed Count V in a preliminary way) directed Harbil to address two issues in its supporting memorandum:

    (1) whether this Court could exert personal
  jurisdiction over those individuals; and
    (2) whether under Illinois law*fn5 a
  conspiracy claim will lie against individuals for
  allegedly conspiring with their own corporation.

See 550 F. Supp. at 478.

Despite that clear directive Harbil initially failed to address the personal jurisdiction issue at all, and then its later memorandum ignored Knorr's answering citation of controlling Illinois law. 550 F. Supp. at 479 & n. 8. On the intracorporate conspiracy issue Harbil was largely evasive, and insofar as it addressed even a tangential issue it persisted in misciting and misusing precedent. Id. at 479-80 & nn. 9-10.

To compound its sins Harbil also unilaterally delayed completion of the briefing on Knorr's motion for attorneys' fees, filed in response to Harbil's joinder motion. Id. at 477-78 n. 3. In fact Harbil failed to respond to Knorr's fees motion despite this Court's specific orders to address that issue.*fn6

Harbil has now filed its belated answering brief on Knorr's fees motion, and Knorr has filed an additional reply brief. Thus the ...


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