Ninth Circuit Personally Sanctions Howard Shanker, Attorney for Save the Peaks Coalition

Here is today’s from the Ninth Circuit panel that decided Save the Peaks Coalition v. USFS (materials here). And the pleadings leading up to today’s order:

Save the Peaks En Banc Petition

Arizona Snowbowl Motion for Attorney Fees

Save the Peaks Opposition to Motion

Arizona Snowbowl Reply

An excerpt from today’s order:

Intervenor-Defendant-Appellee Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership (Snowbowl) has moved for attorney’s fees and costs. The court is well aware that Plaintiffs-Appellants and Howard M. Shanker (Shanker), their counsel, grossly abused the judicial process in prosecuting this second case. However, a majority of the panel has concluded that an award of attorney fees would be inequitable because Plaintiffs-Appellants appear to have been misled by their counsel concerning the issues that remained part of the appeal, and Shanker was acting in a pro bono capacity. Nevertheless, the panel unanimously concludes that some sanction against Shanker personally is appropriate.


As an appropriate remedy, we hold Shanker “personally liable for excessive costs for unreasonably multiplying proceedings.” Gadda, 377 F.3d at 943 n.4. Because this entire case was designed to harass Snowbowl, we conclude that Snowbowl is entitled to an award of all costs other than attorney’s fees that it incurred in litigating Save the Peaks Coalition v. U.S. Forest Service before both the district court (D.C. No. 3:09-cv-08163-MHM) and our court (No. 10-17896.) We hereby award these costs to Snowbowl against Shanker personally. The case is hereby referred to the Appellate Commissioner to determine the monetary amount of costs to award in Snowbowl’s favor against Shanker.