United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER: (1) SANCTIONING PLAINTIFF; (2) DENYING
PLAINTIFF’S EX PARTE MOTION TO LODGE DVD; AND (3)
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION
[ECF NOS. 41, 44]
CYNTHIA BASHANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 16, 2019, Plaintiff Anton Ewing filed a document
entitled “Joint Motion to Strike.” (ECF No. 37.)
The document states that Plaintiff and Defendant GoNow Travel
Club, LLC “hereby stipulate and do jointly . . .
move” to strike a declaration from the record.
(Id. at 1.) The document was signed by Plaintiff and
looked to be electronically signed by defense counsel James
Brasher. That same day, Mr. Brasher filed a declaration
informing the Court that he had not given Plaintiff
permission to file the motion. The Court ordered Plaintiff to
show cause why he should not be sanctioned for filing the
“joint” motion. Brasher then filed a supplemental
declaration, and Plaintiff filed a response to the Court
Order. After reviewing all filings, the timeline of events is
September 11, 2019, the Parties attended an early neutral
evaluation (“ENE”) conference with Magistrate
Judge Schopler. (ECF No. 36.) At the ENE, the Parties agreed
that a certain document could be stricken from the record,
and Plaintiff was to prepare the joint motion to strike.
Later that day, Plaintiff emailed Mr. Brasher a proposed
joint motion to strike. The next day, Thursday September 12,
2019, Mr. Brasher sent Plaintiff a letter wherein he
informed Plaintiff he did not agree to the joint motion, and
he requested Plaintiff instead make changes to the document
and send back a revised copy. (ECF No. 38.) On Monday
September 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed the joint motion on the
record. After learning that the document was not agreed to by
Mr. Brasher, the Court ordered Plaintiff to show cause why he
should not be sanctioned for filing the document. (ECF No.
39.) Plaintiff responded to the Court’s Order.
(“Ewing Response, ” ECF No. 43.)
have inherently broad authority to impose penalties and
sanctions for a party’s failure to comply with the
rules of conduct governing the litigation process. Through
the district court’s inherent powers, monetary
sanctions in the form of attorney’s fees may be imposed
against a party who acts in bad faith, such as disrupting the
litigation process of failing to abide by a court order.
Leon v. IDX Systems Corp., 464 F.3d 951, 961 (9th
Cir. 2006); see also Rodeway Exp., Inc. v. Piper,
447 U.S. 752, 766 (1980).
litigants are subject to sanctions. Simpson v. Lear
Astronics Corp., 77 F.3d 1170, 1177 (9th Cir.1996)
(vacating district court’s order declining to impose
sanctions on pro se litigant and remanding for a
determination of whether a Rule 11 violation had taken place
and, if so, what sanctions should be imposed); Warren v.
Guelker, 29 F.3d 1386, 1390 (9th Cir.1994) (holding Rule
11 applies to unrepresented parties, and district courts are
not at liberty to automatically exempt them from sanctions).
The court must, however, take a party’s pro se status
into account when determining whether the party’s
actions were reasonable. Id. The Court “can
properly consider [a party’s] ability to pay monetary
sanctions as one factor in assessing sanctions.”
Warren, 29 F.3d at 1390.
of whether sanctions are imposed under the Federal Rules or
pursuant to a court's inherent power, the decision to
impose sanctions lies within the sound discretion of the
court. See Lasar v. Ford Motor Co., 399 F.3d 1101,
1109– 14 (9th Cir. 2005) (reviewing sanctions imposed
under the court's inherent power); Payne v. Exxon
Corp., 121 F.3d 503, 510 (9th Cir. 1997) (upholding
sanctions imposed under the Federal Rules).
Court finds it appropriate to sanction Plaintiff, and this
finding is supported by a variety of reasons.
has made it very clear to defense counsel Mr. Brasher that he
may not email Plaintiff, and that Plaintiff has
“blocked” Brasher’s domain so that no
emails will come through. (Exhibits 3 and 4 to Declaration of
James Brasher, ECF No. 42.) Plaintiff is a litigant very
familiar to this Court, and has had cases in front of and
appeared in front of many district and magistrate judges in
this courthouse. In a prior case, Plaintiff similarly blocked
the domain name of the defendant’s counsel. When
counsel objected, Magistrate Judge Lopez held:
Notably, Plaintiff cites no case or other law to support his
argument that he should be allowed to block Defendant from
emailing Plaintiff. As set forth above, Plaintiff and
Defendant are required to “be courteous and civil in
all communications” and “attempt to informally
resolve disputes with opposing counsel.” Civ. L.R.
83.4(a)(1). Additionally, the Federal Rules require the
parties to confer, communicate, and cooperate. See, e.g.,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 5, 26, 37. Email provides immediate and
convenient notice and its use has become commonplace for a
primary means of communication between parties in litigation.
(19-cv-845-CB-LL, ECF No. 31, at 6–7.) She ordered
Plaintiff to stop blocking defense counsel’s emails.
(Id. at 7.) Therefore, Plaintiff is well aware that
there is no basis for him to block defense counsel’s
emails in a case. Yet he has done so here. For the remainder
of this case, Plaintiff SHALL unblock Mr.
Brasher’s emails and the parties may communicate
civilly through email. If Plaintiff believes he has good
reason to continue blocking the emails, he must request Court
permission to do so.
avoid further confusion, the Court orders the following.
In any case currently pending or later filed in this
district where Plaintiff is a party, if Plaintiff wishes to
block the domain name or emails of opposing counsel, he must
file a motion in the case requesting court ...