A California bankruptcy judge has ordered $5,000 in sanctions against a Salt Lake law firm for violating California law by filing two frivolous motions.

The firm of Jardine, Linebaugh, Brown and Dunn has paid the fine to the California Central Bankruptcy Court. However, the firm is appealing the order, said James R. Brown, a partner in the firm.Judge James N. Barr imposed the sanctions after Brown submitted two motions to have lawsuits dismissed against two of his clients, Hans Nievaard and John N. Van Stavern, et al.

Barr deemed the motions frivolous and imposed sanctions. Brown has filed scores of motions to have lawsuits dismissed against dozens of Utahns who invested in Comark, a California limited partnership that bought and sold securities.

When investors bought limited partnerships in the company, they signed documents agreeing to pay Comark additional money should the company need it. Scores of prominent Utahns used the company as a tax shelter in the 1970s and signed such documents as part of their financial arrangement with Comark.

When the company went bankrupt in 1982, it sought to collect the agreed-upon sums from investors in several states. When Utah investors refused to pay, Comark's trustee sued.

The company's trustee is seeking $7 million plus interest and court costs from Utah investors.