Watkins v. Investment Retrievers, Inc.

Filing 25

ORDER signed by District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 10/30/17: Counsel for plaintiff shall pay $250 in sanctions to the Clerk of the Court within ten days of this order, without passing this cost to his client. (Kaminski, H)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 REGINALD WATKINS, 12 13 14 15 No. 2:17-cv-01348-KJM-CKD Plaintiff, v. ORDER INVESTMENT RETRIEVERS, INC., Defendant. 16 17 On October 12, 2017, the court ordered plaintiff’s counsel, Jonathan Aaron 18 Stieglitz, to show cause why he should not be sanctioned: (1) $250.00 for failing to appear at the 19 October 6, 2017 status conference and hearing on defendant’s motion to dismiss, and (2) $250.00 20 for failing to designate Rachel Drake or the appropriate acting counsel as attorney of record for 21 plaintiff. ECF No. 19. Mr. Stieglitz responded to the order to show cause on October 17, 2017. 22 ECF No. 20. Defendant filed a reply that same day. ECF No. 21. Mr. Stieglitz filed a second 23 response on October 19, 2017. ECF Nos. 22, 22-1. 24 The court has reviewed Mr. Stieglitz’s responses and determines he has not shown 25 sanctions should not be imposed for his failure to appear. Mr. Stieglitz explains his request for 26 telephonic appearance, filed on September 7, 2017 and denied by this court on September 12, 27 2017, was submitted in error. See ECF No. 20, p. 2; ECF No. 14; ECF No. 15. Mr. Stieglitz later 28 realized observance of a religious holiday on October 6, 2012 would prohibit him from attending 1 1 the conference and hearing. ECF No. 20, p. 2. Mr. Stieglitz states he did not request continuance 2 of the hearing because he was unable to obtain consent from defendant’s counsel. Id. Instead, Mr. 3 Stieglitz sent “local counsel” who is not an attorney of record in this action. Id. 4 Local Rule 230(f) permits counsel to submit “[r]equests for continuances of 5 hearings on the motion calendar, upon stipulation or otherwise, . . . at least seven (7) days before 6 the scheduled hearing date.” Accordingly, Mr. Stieglitz had ample opportunity to request 7 continuance, with or without opposing counsel’s consent, after the court denied his request for 8 telephonic appearance on September 12, 2017. 9 The court further determines Mr. Stieglitz has not shown sanctions should not be 10 imposed for failing to designate Rachel Drake or appropriate acting counsel as attorney for 11 plaintiff. Mr. Stieglitz states his client, Reginald Watkins, retained Ms. Drake’s New Jersey law 12 firm, RC Law Group, PLLC, and later retained Mr. Stieglitz “to serve as California counsel in 13 this action.” Id. at p. 3. Mr. Stieglitz refers to Ms. Drake as his “co-counsel.” Id. He further states 14 Ms. Drake “drafted the initial Discovery Plan,” but later sought review, comments and approval 15 from Mr. Stieglitz. Id. 16 Local Rule 182(a)(1) provides “no attorney may participate in any action unless 17 the attorney has appeared as an attorney of record.” Ms. Drake had not appeared as an attorney of 18 record in this action, as Mr. Stieglitz knew at the time he filed documents with the court. 19 Accordingly, sanctions are warranted. 20 Although the court previously signaled its intent to impose $500 in sanctions for 21 Mr. Stieglitz’s multiple violations, it now imposes $250 in light of Mr. Stieglitz’s timely 22 responses to the order to show cause and the steps he has initiated to ensure compliance, however 23 belated, with the Local Rules. 24 In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED counsel for plaintiff 25 shall pay $250 in sanctions to the Clerk of the Court within ten days of this order, without passing 26 this cost to his client. 27 DATED: October 30, 2017. 28 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2

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