This Comment addresses the application of Rule 11 sanctions to pro se litigants and argues that based on the language of Rule 11, the concerns expressed in the Advisory Committee Note to Rule 11, and the primary goal of Rule 11 to deter abusive pleadings, a single objective standard should be applied to all parties-attorneys, represented parties, and pro se litigants-to determine whether Rule 11 has been violated. Under this single objective standard, a pro se litigant's lack of legal representation should be considered only in determining the severity of the sanction, not in determining whether Rule 11 has been violated. Section I of this Comment evaluates the language of Rule 11 as amended in 1983 and the accompanying Advisory Committee Note. In Section II, the varying approaches that courts have taken to the application of Rule 11 to pro se litigants are examined through specific Rule 11 cases. Section III discusses the rationale and arguments supporting the application of a single objective test to pro se litigants. Finally, Section IV examines how a single test should be applied to pro se litigants and the proper standards that may factor into the adjudication of a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against a pro se litigant.
Brian L. Holtzclaw, Pro Se Litigants: Application of a Single Objective Standard Under FRCP 11 to Reduce Frivolous Litigation, 16 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1371 (1993).