Clark v. Horace Mann Insurance Company

Filing 33

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE signed by District Judge Troy L. Nunley on 6/1/2017 ORDERING Plaintiff's Counsel to show cause in writing, by 6/15/2017, why she should not be held in civil contempt of Court for repeated failures to adhere to this Court's orders on deadlines for briefings and sanctions; ORDERING Plaintiff's Counsel to pay her outstanding $500 sanctions by 6/15/2017. (Michel, G.)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 CARRIE ANN CLARK, 12 13 14 15 16 No. 2:16-cv-02252-TLN-DB Plaintiff, v. ORDER HORACE MANN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant. 17 18 This action involves an alleged breach of an insurance contract arising from a house fire. 19 This matter is in the early stages of litigation with a First Amended Complaint filed on March 8, 20 2017, and an Answer filed on March 29, 2017. (ECF Nos. 27 & 28.) 21 On October 17, 2016, Defendant Horace Mann Insurance Company (“Defendant”) filed a 22 Motion for Partial Dismissal. (ECF No. 6.) On November 7, 2016, the Court issued an Order to 23 Show Cause (“OSC”) why Plaintiff Carrie Anne Clark (“Plainitff”) should not be sanctioned in 24 the amount of $250 for failing to file an opposition to Defendant’s motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 25 12.) After hearing from Plaintiff’s Counsel, Robin Coker (“Counsel”), the Court discharged the 26 OSC and granted Plaintiff until November 23, 2016, to respond to Defendant’s motion. Plaintiff 27 again failed to meet the deadline and the Court issued another OSC in the amount of $250. (ECF 28 No. 16.) The Court allowed Plaintiff until December 5, 2016, to file an apposition or statement of 1 1 non-opposition. Counsel wrote the Court explaining her health and family issues and the Court 2 discharged the OSC on December 6, 2016. (ECF No. 19.) Plaintiff was allowed one final 3 opportunity to file an opposition before December 29, 2016. On December 29, 2016, Plaintiff 4 finally filed a statement of non-opposition. (ECF No. 20.) 5 On January 5, 2017, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for partial dismissal and 6 allowed Plaintiff 30 days to file a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 22.) On February 10, 7 2017, the Court issued another OSC this time threatening dismissal of the action for Plaintiff’s 8 failure to prosecute and timely file her first amended complaint. Counsel filed a declaration in 9 response to the OSC explaining the failure to file the first amended complaint was due solely to 10 her error and asked that the Court sanction her as Plaintiff’s Counsel rather than penalizing 11 Plaintiff by dismissing the case. (ECF No. 25.) The Court agreed with Counsel and imposed 12 sanctions in the amount of $250. On February 21, 2017, the Court doubled the amount of 13 sanctions to $500 because Counsel failed to timely pay. (ECF No. 30.) Counsel submitted 14 another declaration on May 8, 2017, explaining that she suffered from medical issues that 15 impaired her ability to timely file and after her own medical issues were resolved her mother and 16 stepfather started having health problems. (ECF No. 31 ¶¶ 3–5.) Counsel asked for a “couple 17 days” to get her schedule in order. (ECF No. 31 ¶ 6.) The Court was sympathetic to Counsel’s 18 plight and allotted her 14 days to pay sanctions and 21 days to notify the court of her compliance. 19 Counsel has now failed to timely pay her sanctions or notify the Court of her compliance. 20 The Court acknowledges the difficulties Counsel has faced over the past few months. While 21 sympathetic, Counsel’s repeated failure to meet deadlines creates serious concerns about her 22 ability to adequately represent her client. The Court hopes that by outlining the entire situation as 23 it appears to the Court, Counsel will understand the seriousness of her failures. The Court has 24 repeatedly reminded Counsel that her failures may ultimately affect her client’s case, but Counsel 25 continues to miss deadlines and unnecessarily delay this action. As such, the Court sees no other 26 option at this point than to issue an OSC as to why Counsel should not be held in Civil Contempt 27 of Court. 28 /// 2 1 The Court hereby ORDERS as follows: 2 1. Plaintiff’s Counsel is ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE in writing no later than June 15, 3 2017, as to why she should not be held in civil contempt of Court for repeated failures 4 to adhere to this Court’s orders on deadlines for briefing and sanctions. 5 6 7 2. Plaintiff’s Counsel is further ordered to pay her outstanding $500 sanctions by June 15, 2017. IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 9 Dated: June 1, 2017 10 11 12 13 Troy L. Nunley United States District Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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