A lawyer who files two nearly identical cases in the federal courtsand loses the first one — both at the trial and appellate levels — can be sanctioned ifhe does not voluntarily drop the second, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

The unanimous three-judge panel’s decision in Loftus v. SEPTAmeans that attorney H. Francis deLone must pay a sanction of $4,000. It also lifts a stayon U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno’s decision to hold deLone in contempt forrefusing to pay the sanction and fine him $100 per day until he does pay.