Rule 2.114 Signatures of Attorneys and Parties; Verification; Effect; Sanctions

(A) Applicability. This rule applies to all pleadings, motions, affidavits, and other papers provided for by these rules. See MCR 2.113(A). In this rule, the term “document” refers to all such papers.

(B) Verification.

(1) Except when otherwise specifically provided by rule or statute, a document need not be verified or accompanied by an affidavit.

(2) If a document is required or permitted to be verified, it may be verified by

(a) oath or affirmation of the party or of someone having knowledge of the facts stated; or

(b) except as to an affidavit, including the following signed and dated declaration: “I declare that the statements above are true to the best of my information, knowledge, and belief.”

In addition to the sanctions provided by subrule (E), a person who knowingly makes a false declaration under subrule (B)(2)(b) may be found in contempt of court.

(C) Signature.

(1) Requirement. Every document of a party represented by an attorney shall be signed by at least one attorney of record. A party who is not represented by an attorney must sign the document.

(2) Failure to Sign. If a document is not signed, it shall be stricken unless it is signed promptly after the omission is called to the attention of the party.

(3) An electronic signature is acceptable provided it complies with MCR 1.109(D).

(D) Effect of Signature. The signature of an attorney or party, whether or not the party is represented by an attorney, constitutes a certification by the signer that

(1) he or she has read the document;

(2) to the best of his or her knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry, the document 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

(3) the document is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

(E) Sanctions for Violation. If a document is signed in violation of this rule, the court, on the motion of a party or on 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 document, including reasonable attorney fees. The court may not assess punitive damages.

(F) Sanctions for Frivolous Claims and Defenses. In addition to sanctions under this rule, a party pleading a frivolous claim or defense is subject to costs as provided in MCR 2.625(A)(2). The court may not assess punitive damages.