I really doubt that the issue the judge is considering is whether you can represent yourself. The judge is probably considering whether the lawsuit was filed in bad faith in violation of Rule 11. So the right to self-representation
is probably not what is at issue.
I'm assuming it is whether or not you had any facts to justify the bringing of a lawsuit. That is a totally different issue.
The right of self-representation is well-established so I don't think you need a case on that. However, when cases raising self-representation have resulted in appellate
court decisions, it is usually in the context of a criminal case.
For example, the Supreme Court has held that a defendant has a right to represent himself but, in order to represent himself, he must "knowingly and intelligently" waive his right to counsel
The 11th Circuit has stated that to his Sixth Amendment right a criminal defendant does "not need to recite some talismanic formula hoping to open the eyes and ears of the court to his request. Insofar as the desire to proceed pro se is concerned, petitioner must do no more than state his request, either orally or in writing, unambiguously to the court so that no reasonable person can say that the request was not made. In this Circuit, the court must then conduct a hearing on the waiver of the right to counsel to determine whether the accused understands the risks of proceeding pro se." Stano v. Dugger, 921 F.2d 1125, 1143 (11th Cir. 1991)
The purpose of the inquiry is to allow the trial court to determine whether the defendant understands the risks of self-representation, and the trial court should inform the defendant of the nature of the charges against him, possible punishments, basic trial procedure and the hazards of representing himself. United States v. Kimball, 291 F.3d 726, 730 (11th Cir. 2002).
Again - I do not think that this is the issue in your case. You need to be presenting facts/cases that your lawsuit had some merit.
A court has discretion to award Rule 11 sanctions:
(1) when a party files a pleading that has no reasonable factual basis;
(2) when the party files a pleading that is based on a legal theory that has no reasonable chance of success and that cannot be advanced as a reasonable argument to change existing law; or
(3) when the party files a pleading in bad faith for an improper purpose. Anderson v. Smithfield Foods, Inc., 353 F.3d 912, 915 (11th Cir. 2003)
Under the objective standard, "[a]lthough sanctions are warranted when the claimant exhibits a ‘deliberate indifference to obvious facts,' they are not warranted when the claimant's evidence is merely weak but appears sufficient, after a reasonable inquiry, to support a claim under existing law." Baker v. Alderman, 158 F.3d 516, 524 (11th Cir. 1998)
Rule 11 sanctions "may be appropriate when the plain language of an applicable statute and the case law preclude relief." However, the Courts are required to keep in mind that "the purpose of Rule 11 is to deter frivolous lawsuits and not to deter novel legal arguments or cases of first impression."
So, I hope that this information is helpful. I'd be happy to clarify for you.