The Roanoke paper reports here ("Judge considers sanctions, seeks information," 5/26/04) that the defendants in a section 1983 case brought by a citizen regarding what happened to her in the course of a traffic stop in Franklin County are seeking sanctions against her because they claim the suit was frivolous.
The article says:
"During a hearing in federal court Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Samuel Wilson said he found "a wide range of sanctionable conduct" in the legal action Abby Newman pursued against several Franklin County officials and two Virginia state troopers. But he stopped short of actually imposing sanctions, asking an attorney in the case to provide more information."
Since it is a section 1983 case, the defendants as the prevailing party could get attorneys' fees under 42 U.S.C. 1988(b), separate and apart from "sanctions."
Without betraying any secrets, I think every defendant in a civil case wants to seek sanctions against the plaintiff. An issue in this case, however, is the plaintiff's ability to pay.