Societe D'Equipments Internationaux Nigeria, Ltd. v. Dolarian Capital, Inc., et al.

Filing 96

ORDER DENYING 81 Motion for Sanctions. Order signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 1/24/2017. (Thorp, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 SOCIETE D’EQUIPMENTS INTERNATIONAUX NIGERIA, LTD, 10 11 12 13 14 Plaintiff, Case No. 1:15-cv-01553-DAD-SKO ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS v. (Doc. 81) DOLARIAN CAPITAL, INC., and ARA G. DOLARIAN, Defendants. _____________________________________/ 15 16 Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion for Entry of Order for Civil Contempt and Sanctions 17 (the “Motion for Sanctions”). (Doc. 81.) In the Motion for Sanctions, Plaintiff requests “a civil 18 contempt order” due to the failure of Defendant Ara Dolarian (“Dolarian”) to pay a monetary 19 sanction, as directed by the Court in an order entered on November 22, 2016. (Id. at 1–2.) 20 Plaintiff also requests “compensatory sanctions against [Defendant] Dolarian for the reasonable 21 attorneys’ fees incurred in bringing” the Motion for Sanctions. (Id. at 2.) 22 On January 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Notice re Motion for Sanctions, in which Plaintiff 23 states that Defendant Dolarian paid the sanctions, as directed by the Court in its November 22, 24 2016 order. (Doc. 90 at 2.) In this notice, Plaintiff also withdrew “its request for entry of order 25 for civil contempt,” but noted that it “still seeks compensatory sanctions against [Defendant] 26 Dolarian for reasonable attorneys’ fees in bringing” the Motion for Sanctions. (Id.) To date, 27 neither Defendant has filed an opposition to the Motion for Sanctions. 28 As such, the only 1 remaining issue as to the Motion for Sanctions is Plaintiff’s request for attorneys’ fees and costs in 2 bringing this motion. (Id.) 3 “Sanctions for civil contempt may be imposed to coerce obedience to a court order and to 4 compensate the party pursuing the contempt action for injuries resulting from the contemptuous 5 behavior.” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. PT Multipolar Corp., 202 F.3d 280, at *2 (9th Cir. 1999) 6 (citing Gen. Signal Corp. v. Donallco, Inc., 787 F.2d 1376, 1380 (9th Cir. 1986)). See generally 7 Gen. Signal Corp., 787 F.2d at 1380 (“Compensatory awards are limited to actual losses sustained 8 as a result of the contumacy.” (emphasis omitted)). Thus, “[i]t is well-established that attorneys’ 9 fees are awarded as compensatory damage to the prevailing party in a civil contempt motion.” 10 U.S. Philips Corp. v. KXD Tech., Inc., Case No. CV 05-08953 DMG (PLAx), 2014 WL 11 12567518, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 26, 2014) (citing Perry v. O’Donnell, 759 F.2d 702, 705 (9th Cir. 12 1985)). “A district court enjoys ‘wide latitude in making a determination of whether there has 13 been a contemptuous defiance of its own orders.’” Religious Tech. Ctr. v. Henson, 229 F.3d 1158, 14 at *1 (9th Cir. 2000) (quoting Neebars, Inc. v. Long Bar Grinding, Inc., 438 F.2d 47, 48 (9th Cir. 15 1971)); see, e.g., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Legal & Prof’l Publ’ns, Inc. v. Multistate Legal 16 Studies, Inc., 26 F.3d 948, 953 (9th Cir. 1994) (“An award of attorney’s fees for civil contempt is 17 within the discretion of the district court.” (citing Gen. Signal Corp., 787 F.2d at 1380)). 18 The Court finds that additional monetary sanctions are not warranted. Plaintiff did not 19 prevail in its Motion for Sanctions, and instead, withdrew its request for contempt. Without 20 prevailing on its request for contempt, a sanction in the form of attorneys’ fees and costs for 21 bringing this request is inappropriate. See, e.g. Ruckelshaus v. Sierra Club, 463 U.S. 680, 686 22 (1983) (noting “the traditional rule that a fee claimant must ‘prevail’ before it may recover 23 attorney’s fees”). See generally Hewitt v. Helms, 482 U.S. 755, 760 (1987) (“Respect for ordinary 24 language requires that a [party] receive at least some relief on the merits . . . before he can be said 25 to prevail.”). 26 Furthermore, the Court finds that monetary sanctions are not proper under the present 27 circumstances. Defendant Dolarian has now complied with the Court’s November 22, 2016 order. 28 As such, the Court finds that, at this juncture, additional monetary sanctions are not necessary to 2 1 adequately compensate Plaintiff or ensure Defendant Dolarian’s compliance with the Court’s 2 orders. See, e.g., United States v. Flores, 628 F.2d 521, 527 (9th Cir. 1980) (“[T]he district court 3 should apply the least coercive sanction . . . reasonably calculated to win compliance with its 4 orders.” (citation omitted)). For these reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions, (Doc. 81), to the 5 6 extent Plaintiff requests attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in bringing this motion. 7 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. 9 Dated: 10 January 24, 2017 /s/ Sheila K. Oberto UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 .

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