IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
April 3, 2012
CALIFORNIA SPORTFISHING PROTECTION ALLIANCE, PLAINTIFF,
VALLEY SLURRY SEAL COMPANY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
On February 10, 2012, the magistrate judge entered an order, sanctioning Stewart Altemus, defendants' counsel, for his failure to appear at a hearing on plaintiff's motion to compel. In connection with defendant's motion to reconsider, the court asked Erik Roper, plaintiff's counsel, to address why he did not reschedule the hearing on the motion to compel after Mr. Altemus said he would be in trial on the date set for hearing. Mr. Roper responded that Mr. Altemus never said he would be unavailable to appear on the February 2 hearing, only that he was in trial when they spoke on January 26. ECF No. 47 ¶¶ 6-7. Mr. Roper also avers that had he known Mr. Altemus would not be available, he would have stipulated to continuing the hearing to a mutually acceptable date. Id. ¶ 11. In his emails, however, Mr. Altemus informed Mr. Roper that on January 18, 2012, he was starting a three week trial. ECF No. 39 at 8.
Although the exchange between counsel might have been clearer, the court determines that Mr. Altemus's failure to appear at the February 2, 2012 hearing was not sanctionable.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Plaintiff's motion for sanctions (ECF No. 45) is denied insofar as it is based on Mr. Altemus's failure to pay the $2,468.75 imposed by the magistrate judge; and
2. The portion of the order of February 10, 2012, imposing monetary sanctions on Mr. Altemus is reversed.
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