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Bedwell v. Fish & Richardson

October 16, 2009

SAM BEDWELL, SUZANNE M. MORENO, AND JONATHON SIMON, ORDER PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., CARL E. MANNING, AND MARTHA HUFFMAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

The matters before the Court are the Motion for Voluntary Dismissal, filed by Plaintiff Suzanne M. Moreno (Doc. # 104); the Order to Show Cause why this case should not be closed (Doc. # 118); and the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to this Court that Section III.A. of Plaintiff's "Reply to Defendants' Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause" (Doc. # 122 at 6-7) be permanently stricken from the Court record (Doc. # 126).

BACKGROUND

On January 16, 2009, Plaintiff Suzanne M. Moreno, the sole remaining Plaintiff in this action ("Plaintiff"), filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of this action without prejudice. (Doc. # 104).

On March 30, 2009, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order awarding Defendants the sum of $5,173.62 as sanctions for Plaintiff's failure to appear for her deposition. (Doc. # 108). On April 3, 2009, Plaintiff sent a letter to the Magistrate Judge requesting reconsideration of this Order, based on her inability to pay the $5,713.62 to Defendants by April 30, 2009 as ordered by the Magistrate Judge. (Doc. # 109 at 1). On April 17, 2009, the Magistrate Judge issued an Order which (1) reaffirmed the sanctions award, (2) stayed the deadline for Plaintiff to pay the sanctions, (3) ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding appropriate accommodations for payment of the award in light of Plaintiff's financial condition, and (4) ordered the parties to provide a joint written statement to the Magistrate Judge regarding the status of their discussions by no later than May 1, 2009. (Doc. # 109 at 2).

On April 29, 2009, this Court issued an Order addressing the Motion for Voluntary Dismissal. (Doc. # 110). The Court concluded:

This case has been vigorously litigated on both sides and has been pending for over two years. The discovery deadline has passed, and final pretrial preparations have commenced. The Court concludes that dismissal without prejudice at this late stage in the proceedings would only be proper if conditioned upon Plaintiff's payment of $3,400.00 to Defendants. This amount represents the attorneys' fees incurred by Defendants in opposing Plaintiff's motion to transfer venue, which cannot be used in any future litigation of Plaintiff's claims. Defendants have not met their burden to demonstrate that the remainder of the attorneys' fees requested would not be useful in future litigation of Plaintiff's claims.

If Plaintiff accepts this condition, the Court will dismiss this case in its entirety without prejudice on the condition that Plaintiff pay $3,400.00 to Defendants. If Plaintiff considers payment of $3,400.00 to Defendants to be too burdensome a condition, Plaintiff may withdraw her motion for dismissal and proceed with this case on the merits.

(Doc. # 110 at 6-7).

On April 29, 2009, Plaintiff filed an Objection to the Sanctions Order and the Magistrate Judge's April 17, 2009 Order, arguing that the Magistrate Judge's imposition of sanctions was clearly erroneous and contrary to law. (Doc. # 111).

On May 22, 2009, Plaintiff filed "Notice of Acceptance of and Request for Ruling," wherein she stated:

Pursuant to this Court's order dated April 29, 2009, Plaintiff, Suzanne M. Moreno hereby gives notice of her acceptance of the condition of payment of $3400.00 to Defendants for the attorneys' fees incurred by Defendants in opposing Plaintiff's motion to transfer venue.

Wherefore, Plaintiff ... respectfully requests that this Court issue a ruling on her Objection to Sanctions Order of Magistrate Judge..., filed on April 29, 2009.

(Doc. # 114 at 1).

On June 22, 2009, this Court issued an Order overruling Plaintiff's objections to the Magistrate Judge's sanctions order. ...


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