United States District Court, C.D. California
PRESENT: THE HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES
(In Chambers) Order Granting Defendant's Motion for
Monetary Sanctions [Dkt. 60]
September 3, 2019, Defendant BMW of North America, LLC
(“Defendant”) filed a Motion for Monetary
Sanctions for Reimbursement of Costs and Fees Associated with
Plaintiff's Counsel's Violation of the Court's
Order Regarding Mandatory Settlement Conferences
(“Motion”) seeking a total award of $5, 071.00 in
attorneys' fees and costs. ECF Docket No.
(“Dkt.”) 60. Plaintiff has not filed an
Opposition. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's
Motion is GRANTED.
17, 2019, the District Judge referred the action to the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for a settlement
conference. Dkt. 50.
2, 2019, the Court issued an Order setting the settlement
conference for July 10, 2019. Dkt. 52. The Order explains,
“The purpose of the Settlement Conference is to permit
an informal discussion between the attorneys, parties,
non-party indemnitors or insurers, and the settlement judge,
of every aspect of the case bearing on its settlement
value.” Id. at ¶ 1. Therefore, the Order
requires lead trial counsel to be present with their client,
“whether or not counsel purportedly have been given
settlement authority, ” and states “counsel
appearing without their clients . . . will cause the
settlement conference to be cancelled and rescheduled.”
Id. at ¶¶ 3-4. The Order further provides
that any failure to “comply strictly with this Order,
may result in the Settlement Conference being ordered off
calendar and sanctions being imposed.” Id. at
¶ 8. In addition, the Court's Procedures, available
on the Court's website, make clear “[i]t is the
responsibility of the parties to obtain the services of an
interpreter in a civil case if one is needed.”
10, 2019, the matter was called for a settlement conference
at 9:30 a.m. as previously scheduled. See Dkt. 53.
Attorney Richard Uss appeared on behalf of Plaintiff Carlos
Suarez (“Plaintiff”), who was present.
Id. Attorney Abtin Amir appeared on behalf of
Defendant, whose client representative Robert Coake was
present. Id. However, Plaintiff needed the
assistance of a Spanish language interpreter and
Plaintiff's counsel failed to arrange for the presence of
an interpreter. Id. After conferring with the
parties, the Court recessed to permit Plaintiff's counsel
the opportunity to arrange for an interpreter. Id.
Following the recess, Plaintiff's counsel advised he was
unable to secure the presence of an interpreter in Court the
same day. Id.
Court, therefore, ordered the settlement conference continued
to July 26, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. and required the parties to
file a stipulation seeking to continue the ADR deadline and
pretrial conference previously set for July 22, 2019.
11, 2019, the parties filed a joint stipulation to continue
the final pretrial conference until after the July 26, 2019
settlement conference. Dkt. 54. On July 15, 2019, the Court
granted the parties' stipulation and continued the final
pretrial conference to August 12, 2019. Dkt. 55.
26, 2019, the matter was called for a settlement conference
and the parties ultimately agreed upon a confidential
settlement agreement. See Dkt. 56.
August 29, 2019, pursuant to the settlement agreement, the
parties filed a stipulation to dismiss the case. Dkt. 59. On
September 3, 2019, the case was ordered dismissed. Dkt. 62.
September 3, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion with a
declaration from Defendant's counsel, seeking $5, 071.00
in fees and costs as follows:
(1) $1, 933.00 for five hours of attorney time at a rate of
$385 per hour to travel to, attend, and travel back from the
July 10, 2019 ...