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Cervantes v. ASJS Investments, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 9, 2018

AURORA CERVANTES, Plaintiff,
v.
ASJS INVESTMENTS, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER IMPOSING MONETARY SANCTION ON CATHERINE M. CORFEE FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH COURT ORDERS

         I.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff Aurora Cervantes filed this action alleging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act and state law on December 29, 2017. On January 2, 2018, summonses issued and the order issued setting the mandatory scheduling conference in this action for April 2, 2018. On February 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed notices of proof of service of the complaint against all defendants. Defendants Narinderpal Singh and Nishan Singh filed an answer on February 16, 2018.

         On March 27, 2018, the parties filed a joint status report. Approximately thirty minutes prior to the April 2, 2018 hearing, the courtroom deputy reached out to Catherine Corfee, counsel for Defendants, and provided her with the telephone number and passcode to appear telephonically at the scheduling conference. Counsel Daniel Malakauskas appeared telephonically for Plaintiff; however, counsel for Defendants did not appear at the April 2, 2018 hearing.

         On April 2, 2018, the Court ordered Catherine M. Corfee to show cause in writing within three days from the date of entry of the order why monetary sanctions should not be imposed for the failure to appear at the mandatory scheduling conference. Catherine M. Corfee did not file a response to the Court's April 2, 2018 order to show cause. On April 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a notice of settlement and an order issued requiring dispositional documents to be filed within sixty days of April 5, 2018.

         On April 6, 2018, Catherine Corfee was ordered to personally appear on April 12, 2018, to show cause why sanctions should not issue for her failure to appear at the mandatory scheduling conference and failure to respond to the April 2, 2018 order to show cause. On April 6, 2018, Defendants filed a response to the order to show cause and Catherine Corfee filed a declaration in which she requested a continuance of the order to show cause hearing. On April 9, 2018, an order was filed continuing the order to show cause hearing to April 17, 2018.

         On April 16, 2018, Catherine Corfee filed a second request for a continuance of the order to show cause hearing. Counsel did not appear on April 17, 2018 and an order issued continuing the order to show cause hearing to May 9, 2018.

         On May 9, 2018, Catherine Corfee appeared at the show cause hearing.

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the underlying purpose of the rules is to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination” of an action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 1. To effectuate this purpose the rules provide for sanctions against parties that fail to comply with court orders or that unnecessarily multiply the proceedings. See e.g. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(f); Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b). Rule 16(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the court to issue any just order if a party or attorney fails to obey a scheduling or other pretrial order.

         The court also possesses inherent authority to impose sanctions to manage its own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases. Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43 (1991). The court's inherent power is that which is necessary to the exercise of all others, including to protect the due and orderly administration of justice and maintain the authority and dignity of the court. Roadway Exp., Inc. v. Piper, 447 U.S. 752, 764 (1980). In order to coerce a party to comply with the court's orders, the court may issue sanctions for every day the party fails to respond to the court's orders to show cause. See Lasar v. Ford Motor Co., 399 F.3d 1101, 1110 (9th Cir. 2005) (discussing court's authority to impose civil sanctions “intended to be remedial by coercing the defendant to do what he had refused to do.”).

         The Local Rules of the Eastern District of California (“L.R.”) provide that “[f]ailure of counsel or of a party to comply with these Rules or with any order of the Court may be grounds for imposition by the Court of any and all sanctions authorized by statute or Rule or within the inherent power of the Court.” L.R. 110. Further, “[i]n the event any attorney subject to these Rules engages in conduct that may warrant discipline or other sanctions, any Judge or Magistrate Judge may initiate proceedings for contempt under 18 U.S.C. § 401 or Fed. R. Crim. P. 42, or may, after reasonable notice and opportunity to show cause to the contrary, take any other appropriate disciplinary action against the attorney.” L.R. 184(a). ...


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