United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DISCHARGING ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE; REQUIRING
STATUS REPORT RE: DKT. NO. 74
A. WESTMORE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
January 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed a notice of settlement as
to Defendant Abdulnasser Alsumairi. (Dkt. No. 52.). On
February 4, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a
dismissal of Defendant Alsumairi within 60 days. (Dkt. No.
did not file the dismissal of Defendant Alsumairi. On May 28,
2019, Plaintiff and Defendant Alsumairi filed a joint status
report. (Dkt. No. 62.) The parties stated that Defendant
Alsumairi's counsel, Attorney Michael Welch, “has
not been terribly responsive.” (Id. at 2.) On
May 6, 2019, Attorney Welch informed Plaintiff that Defendant
Alsumairi had mailed the payment to Attorney Welch's
office, and that Attorney Welch would forward the payment
without delay. (Id.) As of May 28, 2019, however,
Plaintiff had not received the settlement funds.
17, 2019, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a dismissal of
the case or a status report within 60 days. (Dkt. No. 69.)
The Court further stated: “If Attorney Welch has not
forwarded the settlement payment by then, Attorney Welch
shall explain why he has failed to do so, and explain why he
should not be sanctioned and/or reported to the State
Bar.” (Id. at 2.)
September 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed a unilateral status
report, stating that he had still not received payment and
the settlement had not been consummated. (Dkt. No. 73 at 2.)
Plaintiff further stated that Attorney “Welch has made
no efforts since this Court's July Order to move
settlement forward in any way, ” and that although
Plaintiff's counsel had called, e-mailed, and attempted
to meet and confer with Attorney Welch, “each effort
was ignored.” (Id.) Plaintiff attached various
e-mails to Attorney Welch that he had failed to respond to,
including e-mails on August 15, August 21, September 12, and
September 13. (Seabock Decl., Exh. 1.) The e-mail chain also
included e-mails in which Attorney Welch repeatedly stated
that the money would be sent, but then apparently failed to
do so. (Id.) Plaintiff further attached a September
6, 2019 letter sent to Attorney Welch, raising the payment
issue. Plaintiff stated that he would likely move to enforce
the terms of the settlement agreement, or to request that the
case be reopened and seek default against Defendant
Welch did not file a response, despite the Court's July
17, 2019 order. On September 17, 2019, the Court issued an
order to show cause, requiring Attorney Welch to explain: (1)
why he had not provided the settlement payment, and (2) why
he had not complied with the Court's order. (Order to
Show Cause at 2, Dkt. No. 74.) The Court warned that failure
to comply would result in the imposition of sanctions and
referral to the Northern District of California's
Standing Committee on Professional Conduct and the California
State Bar. The Court set a show cause hearing for October 3,
2019, and ordered Attorney Welch to personally appear.
Welch again failed to file a response. Instead, on October 3,
2019, only a few hours before the show cause hearing,
Attorney Welch informed the Court that he had a medical
emergency. (Dkt. No. 76.) The Court continued the show cause
hearing to October 17, 2019, and ordered Attorney Welch to
produce evidence of his medical emergency with a sworn
affidavit on or before the next hearing. (Id.)
October 17, 2019, the Court held the show cause hearing.
(Dkt. No. 79.) Attorney Welch appeared at the hearing and
provided a document, dated September 30, 2019, reminding him
that he had a scheduled medical appointment in Sacramento on
the morning of October 3, 2019. Attorney Welch did not
provide the required affidavit, nor did he adequately explain
why he did not earlier inform the Court of the conflict. With
respect to his failure to comply with the Court's orders,
Attorney Welch stated that he had suffered a stroke in June
2019, which had limited his ability to practice and resulted
in him referring out his cases and withdrawing from others.
Additionally, at the hearing, Plaintiff's counsel
clarified that they had, in fact, received
two payments on May 24, 2019 and August 6, 2019, and that
there was an outstanding balance of $4, 500. Attorney Welch
indicated that his client had mailed the $4, 500 directly to
Plaintiff's counsel, although Plaintiff's counsel had
not yet received it.
light of Attorney Welch's health problems and the fact
that Attorney Welch has, despite Plaintiff's assertions,
been moving forward with the settlement payments, the Court
DISCHARGES the order to show cause. The Court is concerned,
however, that despite Attorney Welch's assertion that his
ability to practice is limited and that he had been referring
out his cases, it appears that he has continued to take on
new cases since his June 2019 stroke.
(See Case No. 19-cv-3878-KAW, Shaw v.
Sparky's Restaurant Co., Dkt. No. 12 (Aug. 19, 2019)
(Attorney Welch's first appearance); Case No.
19-cv-3181-RS, Hernandez v. KB San Mateo, LLC, Dkt.
No. 8 (July 24, 2019) (same); Case No. 19-cv-4033-RS,
Ridola v. Stevens Creek Surplus Department Store
Inc., Dkt. No. 10 (Oct. 1, 2019) (same); Case No.
19-cv-4702, Johnson v. Saberi, Case No.
19-cv-2571-EJD, Dkt. No. 12 (July 30, 2019) (same); Case No.
19-cv-4705-EJD, Love v. Walia, Dkt. No. 11
(September 16, 2019) (same).) Further, in light of his
appearances and filings in these other cases, it is unclear
to the Court why Attorney Welch failed to respond to the
Court's orders in this case, or why Attorney Welch
represented that he had a medical emergency on October 3,
2019, when his unavailability was due to a pre-scheduled
medical appointment. The Court also notes that it is aware
Attorney Welch has been referred to the Northern District of
California's Committee on Professional Responsibility on
similar issues in another pending case. Accordingly, Attorney
Welch is forewarned of his obligation to comply with all
Court orders, or risk sanction.
parties shall file a joint status report by November
1, 2019. If Attorney Welch does not ensure that the
settlement is paid by that date, and fails to adequately
explain the delay, the Court will refer
Attorney Welch to the Northern District of California's
Committee on Professional Responsibility and the California
 This directly contradicts
Plaintiff's assertion in the September 13, 2019 status
report that Attorney Welch had made no efforts to move
settlement forward since the July 17, 2019 order, and that
Plaintiff had not ...