RULE 11. SIGNING OF PLEADINGS, MOTIONS AND OTHER PAPERS; REPRESENTATIONS TO COURT; SANCTIONS
1 (a) Signature.
2 (1) In General. Every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be
3 signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney's name or by a party
4 personally if the party is self-represented. The paper must state the signer's
5 address, electronic mail address for electronic service, and telephone number. If
6 the signer is an attorney, the paper must contain the attorney's State Board of Law
7 Examiners identification number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states
8 otherwise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit. The
9 court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission is promptly corrected after
10 being called to the attorney's or party's attention.
11 (2) Notarization Not Required. Unless specifically required by court rule, a
12 document filed with the court in a civil action is not required to be notarized.
13 When any matter is required or permitted to be supported, evidenced, established,
14 or proved by the sworn declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or
15 affidavit, in writing of the person making the same (other than a deposition, or an
16 oath of office, or an oath required to be taken before a specified official other than
17 a notary public), such matter may, with like force and effect, be supported,
18 evidenced, established, or proved by the unsworn declaration, certificate,
19 verification, or statement, subscribed by the maker as true under penalty of perjury,
20 and dated, in substantially the following form: "I declare (or certify, verify, or
21 state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct." In addition to
22 the signature, the date of signing and the county and state where the document was
23 signed shall be noted on the document.
24 (b) Representations to the Court. By presenting to the court a pleading,
25 written motion, or other paper, whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later
26 advocating it, an attorney or self-represented party certifies that to the best of the
27 person's knowledge, information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable
28 under the circumstances:
29 (1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass,
30 cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation;
31 (2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are warranted by
32 existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing
33 existing law or for establishing new law;
34 (3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or will likely have
35 evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or
36 discovery; and
37 (4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence or are
38 reasonably based on belief or a lack of information.
39 (c) Sanctions.
40 (1) In General. If, after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the
41 court determines that Rule 11(b) has been violated, the court may impose an
42 appropriate sanction on any attorney, law firm, or party that violated the rule or is
43 responsible for the violation. Absent exceptional circumstances, a law firm must
44 be held jointly responsible for a violation committed by its partner, associate, or
46 (2) Motion for Sanctions. A motion for sanctions must be made separately
47 from any other motion and must describe the specific conduct that allegedly
48 violates Rule 11(b). The motion, brief, and other supporting papers must be served
49 under Rule 5, but must not be filed or be presented to the court if the challenged
50 paper, claim, defense, contention, or denial is withdrawn or appropriately corrected
51 within 21 days after service or within another time the court sets. The respondent
52 must have 10 days after a motion for sanctions is filed to serve and file an answer
53 brief and other supporting papers. If warranted, the court may award to the
54 prevailing party the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred for the
56 (3) On the Court's Initiative. On its own, the court may order an attorney,
57 law firm, or party to show cause why conduct specifically described in the order
58 has not violated Rule 11(b).
59 (4) Nature of a Sanction. A sanction imposed under this rule must be
60 limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct
61 by others similarly situated. The sanction may include nonmonetary directives; an
62 order to pay a penalty into court; or, if imposed on motion and warranted for
63 effective deterrence, an order directing payment to the movant of part or all of the
64 reasonable attorney's fees and other expenses directly resulting from the violation.
65 (5) Limitations on Monetary Sanctions. The court must not impose a
66 monetary sanction:
67 (A) against a represented party for violating Rule 11(b)(2); or
68 (B) on its own, unless it issued the show-cause order under Rule 11(c)(3)
69 before voluntary dismissal or settlement of the claims made by or against the party
70 that is, or whose attorneys are, to be sanctioned.
71 (d) Inapplicability to Discovery. This rule does not apply to disclosures and
72 discovery requests, responses, objections, and motions under Rules 26 through 37.
73 (e) Limited Representation.
74 (1) Preparation of Pleadings. An attorney who complies with Rule 1.2 of the
75 N.D. Rules of Prof. Conduct, may prepare pleadings, briefs, and other documents
76 to be filed with the court by a self-represented party. The attorney's preparation of
77 pleadings, briefs, or other documents does not constitute an appearance by the
78 attorney in the case and no notice under Rule 11(e)(2) is required. Any filing
79 prepared under this paragraph must be signed by the party designated as
81 (2) Limited Appearance.
82 (A) In General. An attorney who complies with Rule 1.2 of the N.D. Rules
83 of Prof. Conduct, may make a "limited appearance" on behalf of an otherwise
84 self-represented party involved in a proceeding to which these rules apply.
85 (B) Notice. An attorney who makes a limited appearance on behalf of an
86 otherwise self-represented party must serve a notice of limited appearance on each
87 party involved in the matter. The notice must state precisely the scope of the
88 limited appearance. An attorney who seeks to act beyond the stated scope of the
89 limited appearance must serve an amended notice of limited appearance. Upon
90 completion of the limited appearance, the attorney must file and serve a
91 "Certificate of Completion of Limited Appearance" as required by N.D.R.Ct.
93 (C) Filing. If the action is filed, the party who received assistance of an
94 attorney on a limited basis must file the notice of limited appearance with the
96 (3) Scope of Rule. The requirements of this rule apply to every pleading,
97 written motion and other paper signed by an attorney acting within the scope of a
98 limited representation.
99 EXPLANATORY NOTE
100 Rule 11 was amended, effective March 1, 1986; March 1, 1990; March 1,
101 1996; March 1, 1997; August 1, 2001; March 1, 2009; March 1, 2011; March 1,
102 2014; August 1, 2016; March 1, 2018.
103 Rule 11 governs to the extent Rule 11 and N.D.R.Ct. 3.2, conflict.
104 Rule 11 was revised, effective March 1, 1996, in response to the 1993
105 revision of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11. North Dakota's rule differs from the federal rule in the
106 following respects: 1) North Dakota's rule requires attorneys to cite their State
107 Board of Law Examiners identification number when signing papers; and 2) North
108 Dakota's rule does not require allegations or denials to be specifically identified
109 when immediate evidentiary support is lacking.
110 Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 2014, to specify that the
111 e-mail address required in documents signed by an attorney or party is the signer's
112 e-mail address for electronic service.
113 Subdivision (a) was amended, effective March 1, 2018, to state that
114 notarization is not generally required for documents filed in civil actions and to
115 provide a method for using unsworn statements made under a penalty of perjury.
116 Subdivision (e) was added, effective March 1, 2009, to permit an attorney
117 to file a notice of limited representation indicating an intent to represent a party for
118 one or more matters in a case, but not for all matters. An attorney must also serve a
119 notice of termination of limited representation when the attorney's involvement
120 ends. Rule 5, Rule 11 and N.D.R.Ct. 11.2, were amended to permit attorneys to
121 assist an otherwise self-represented party on a limited basis without undertaking
122 full representation of the party. Under N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.2 (c) a lawyer may
123 limit the scope of the representation if a client consents after consultation.
124 Subdivision (e) was amended, effective August 1, 2016, to add new
125 paragraphs (1) and (2) providing additional details on the services an attorney may
126 perform while assisting a self-represented party on a limited basis and indicating
127 when notice of these services must be provided to other parties and the court. The
128 new paragraphs are based on language from Neb. R. Prof. Conduct 3-501.2.
129 Rule 11 was amended, effective March 1, 2011, in response to the
130 December 1, 2007, revision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The language
131 and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood
132 and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules.
133 SOURCES: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes of September 29-30, 2016,
134 pages 20-22; September 24-25, 2015, pages 2-11; April 23-24, 2015, pages 16-25;
135 January 29-30, 2015, page 22; April 25-26, 2013, page 16; September 24-25, 2009,
136 pages 13-14; January 24, 2008, pages 2-7; October 11-12, 2007, pages 20-26;
137 September 28-29, 1995, pages 2-3; April 27-28, 1995, pages 3-4; January 26-27,
138 1995, pages 8-10; September 29-30, 1994, pages 24-26; April 20, 1989, page 2;
139 December 3, 1987, page 11; April 26, 1984, pages 25-26; January 20, 1984, pages
140 16-18; September 20-21, 1979, page 7; Fed.R.Civ.P. 11.
141 CROSS REFERENCE: N.D.R.Civ.P. 5 (Service and Filing of Pleadings
142 and Other Papers); N.D.R.Ct. 11.1 (Nonresident Attorneys); N.D.R.Ct. 11.2
143 (Withdrawal of Attorneys); N.D.R. Prof. Conduct 1.2 (Scope of Representation);
144 N.D.C.C. §§ 28-26-01 (Attorney's Fees by Agreement-Exceptions-Awarding Costs
145 and Attorney's Fees to Prevailing Party), and 28-26-31 (Pleadings Not Made in
146 Good Faith).