Nguyen et al v. Wells Fargo, N.A. et al

Filing 80

ORDER by Judge Edward M. Chen Granting in Part and Denying in Part 78 Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Sanctions. (emcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/19/2023)Any non-CM/ECF Participants have been served by First Class Mail to the addresses of record listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

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Case 3:20-cv-07991-EMC Document 80 Filed 01/19/23 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 PHUONG T. NGUYEN, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 20-cv-07991-EMC v. WELLS FARGO, N.A., et al., Defendants. ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM SANCTIONS Docket No. 78 12 13 14 Previously, the Court granted the Wells Fargo Defendants’ motion for sanctions against 15 Ms. Nguyen and ordered Ms. Nguyen to pay monetary sanctions in the amount of $1,620. This 16 figure represented the attorney’s fees incurred by the Wells Fargo Defendants to discover the fraud 17 and bring the issue to the Court. See Docket No. 77 (order). Currently pending before the Court 18 is Ms. Nguyen’s motion for relief from the sanctions order. Having considered the papers 19 submitted, the Court finds the matter suitable for resolution without oral argument. The motion 20 for relief is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. 21 In her motion, Ms. Nguyen invokes Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) in support of 22 her position. That rule provides that a “court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order, 23 or proceeding for . . . (6) any other reason that justifies relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6). The 24 Wells Fargo Defendants argue that Rule 60(b)(6) allows for relief only where there are 25 extraordinary circumstances, which are not present here. See, e.g., Harvest v. Castro, 531 F.3d 26 737, 749 (9th Cir. 2008) (“A party moving for relief under Rule 60(b)(6) ‘must demonstrate both 27 injury and circumstances beyond his control that prevented him from proceeding with the action in 28 a proper fashion.’ We have cautioned that this Rule is to be ‘used sparingly as an equitable Case 3:20-cv-07991-EMC Document 80 Filed 01/19/23 Page 2 of 3 1 remedy to prevent manifest injustice and is to be utilized only where extraordinary circumstances 2 prevented a party from taking timely action to prevent or correct an erroneous judgment.’”). The Court largely agrees. For example, Ms. Nguyen argues that the sanctions order in United States District Court Northern District of California 3 4 favor of the Wells Fargo Defendants was improper because (1) it was the federal government, and 5 not the Wells Fargo Defendants, that asked to relate Nguyen I and Nguyen II, and thus (2) Nguyen 6 DDS’s opposition to relation could had no impact, and in fact had no impact, on the Wells Fargo 7 Defendants. This argument lacks merit. Simply because it was the federal government that 8 moved to relate does not mean that the Wells Fargo Defendants had no interest in whether the 9 cases would be related. The Court credits the Wells Fargo Defendants’ representation that they 10 did in fact have an interest in having the cases related and believed that they should be related 11 because the relation requirement had clearly been met – i.e., Nguyen I and Nguyen II are 12 effectively the same case as both are based on the same state court case. Ms. Nguyen also argues that the Wells Fargo Defendants should not be entitled to any 13 14 monetary award because they failed to meet and confer with her about the Nguyen DDS 15 opposition brief. But the Wells Fargo Defendants did not have an obligation to meet and confer 16 with her, and, in any event, once Wells Fargo moved for sanctions, Ms. Nguyen could have 17 promptly withdrawn the Nguyen DDS opposition brief rather than trying to defend it. Ms. Nguyen’s final argument is that the sanctions award should be vacated because she 18 19 cannot afford it. According to Ms. Nguyen, she lost her dental business and, at some unidentified 20 point, she broke her hand (allegedly after she fainted and fell based on mental anguish she suffered 21 as a result of Defendants’ alleged wrongdoing) such that she can only work part time. The Wells 22 Fargo Defendants correctly note that Ms. Nguyen could have argued in her opposition to the 23 motion for sanctions that she was financially unable to pay for a monetary sanctions award. She 24 did not do so. Nonetheless, in the interests of justice, the Court will reduce the amount of the 25 award to $800.00. 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 2 Case 3:20-cv-07991-EMC Document 80 Filed 01/19/23 Page 3 of 3 1 2 3 Accordingly, for the reasons stated above, Ms. Nguyen’s motion for relief is granted in part and denied in part. This order disposes of Docket No. 78. 4 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. 6 7 Dated: January 19, 2023 8 9 10 ______________________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States District Judge United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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