Gibbs & Bruns represented the former Outside Drectors of the Enron Board of Directors in litigation arising out of the collapse of Enron.  In one of the coordinated and consolidated cases, the trial court found that a firm representing Fleming & Associates engaged in sanctionable conduct and imposed monetary sanctions.  As part of a settlement of the underlying claims, the Outside Directors agreed not to recover the monetary sanctions.  In a case of first impression, the Fifth Circuit in a published decision rejected Fleming’s arguments that, as a result of the settlement, the case was moot in the district court, and therefore, the district court was without power to enter the sanctions order.  The court further rejected Fleming’s argument that the Outside Directors’ agreement not to collect the sanctions rendered the appeal moot and that the sanctions should therefore be vacated under equitable principles.  The Fifth Circuit recognized the existence of a circuit split on this issue and agreed with the Outside Directors and the minority view that even monetary sanctions contain a punitive component that cannot be bargained away by the parties.  As a result, the court rejected the claim that the sanctions order was rendered moot by the underlying settlement and affirmed the district court’s decision not to vacate its sanctions order.