Opposing council has placed a motion for sanctions against my attorney because of answers to an interrogtory. I answered all questions as asked, but my lawyer changed the answers I gave him to legalese with objections. I signed the document as my lawyer wrote it, because I thought he knew what he was doing. The other side is asking the judge for me to pay my ex’s legal fees because of this. If the judge awards these fees, will I be the one who owes this debt, not my lawyer? What can I do? I was following my attorney’s advice? Also, do I get to attend this motion hearing? Would the judge ask me questions if so?
Based on your brief description of the events that transpired, what your attorney did sounds normal. We regularly revise our clients answers to fit the specific question asked and include objections. Without reviewing the discovery and the motion for sanctions, I cannot tell you what a likely outcome will be. The usual course of action would be to file a motion to compel the interrogatory response.
Rule 11(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedure states:
Signing by Attorney. – Every pleading, motion, and other paper of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record in his individual name, whose address shall be stated. A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading, motion, or other paper and state his address. Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, pleadings need not be verified or accompanied by affidavit. The signature of an attorney or party constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of his knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry it is well grounded in fact and is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, and that it is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the pleader or movant. If a pleading, motion, or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, shall impose upon the person who signed it, a represented party, or both, an appropriate sanction, which may include an order to pay to the other party or parties the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, motion, or other paper, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.
I would discuss with your attorney the contents of the motion and how he/she intends to handle the matter. In a lot of instances, these matters can be resolved without a hearing.