Imagine that, at the end of a case, the judge decides to impose sanctions on you for the way in which you have handled discovery, or done something at trial. In the order requiring you and your client to pay your opponent some money, the judge holds forth at length as to the ways in which your conduct has fallen below the standards of appropriate professional behavior, including saying that your actions reflected dishonesty or were taken in bad faith. You want to appeal the sanctions order, but your client has had enough of the case and pays the entire financial portion of the sanctions order. Can you still appeal the judge’s finding that you have misbehaved in a way that is improper and sanctionable?
Your natural reaction is likely that of course you can appeal the nonmonetary sanction. How else can you rescue your reputation from the harm worked by the sanctions order?
Yet, until the May 23 decision in Martinez v. City of Chicago, (7th Cir. No. 15-2752), the Seventh Circuit’s case law would likely not have permitted you to appeal the nonmonetary sanction.