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Barajas Centeno v. City of Carlsbad

United States District Court, S.D. California

January 9, 2020

JOSE LUIS BARAJAS CENTENO, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CARLSBAD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER FOLLOWING SHOW CAUSE HEARING: (1) IMPOSING SANCTIONS; AND (2) SETTING FOLLOW-UP SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE

          Honorable Linda Lopez, United States Magistrate Judge

         On December 18, 2019, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why sanctions should not be imposed on Plaintiff for Plaintiff's failure to appear in-person at the December 16, 2019 Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”). ECF No. 10. On January 9, 2020, the Court held the Show Cause Hearing. ECF No. 18.

         After considering the filings submitted by counsel for the Parties ([ECF Nos. 12-15]), the Court concludes that Plaintiff should be sanctioned in the amount, and for the reasons, set forth below.

         RELEVANT BACKGROUND

         On November 4, 2019, the Court issued a Notice and Order for an Early Neutral Evaluation to be held on December 16, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. ECF No. 3. The ENE Notice required that all parties and the principal attorneys responsible for the litigation attend the ENE.

         Specifically, the ENE Notice stated:

Personal Appearance of Parties Required: All parties, adjusters for insured parties, and other representatives of a party having full and complete authority to enter into a binding settlement, and the principal attorneys responsible for the litigation, must be present in person and legally and factually prepared to discuss settlement of the case. Counsel appearing without their clients (whether or not counsel has been given settlement authority) will be cause for immediate imposition of sanctions and may also result in the immediate termination of the conference . . . .
Unless there is good cause, persons required to attend the conference pursuant to this Order shall not be excused from personal attendance. In and of itself, having to travel a long distance to appear in person is not “good cause.” Motions seeking a waiver of the personal appearance requirement must establish good cause and be filed at least seven (7) days prior to the conference. Failure to appear at the ENE conference will be grounds for sanctions.

Id. at 2.

         On December 12, 2019, after reviewing Plaintiff's Confidential Statement, the Court issued an Order denying Plaintiff's request to be excused from appearing in-person at the ENE (to the extent Plaintiff was making such a request). ECF No. 7 at 1. The Court's Order made it clear that Plaintiff was expected to appear in-person. Id.

         On December 16, 2019, the Court attempted to convene an ENE as scheduled. ECF No. 8. Plaintiff failed to appear. For these reasons, on December 18, 2019, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause as to why Plaintiff should not be sanctioned. ECF No. 10.

         On December 20, 2019, Plaintiff's counsel submitted declarations in response to the Court's Order. ECF Nos. 12-13. On December 23, 2019, Defendant filed a response. ECF No. 14. On December 23, 2019, Plaintiff's counsel filed an amended declaration. ECF No. 15. Plaintiff did not submit a declaration. See Docket.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Plaintiff's ...


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