Griggs v. USA et al
ORDER GRANTING 34 MOTION for Sanctions filed by USA. Signed by Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson on 9/19/2016. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ROGER A. GRIGGS,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al.,
Case No. 3:15-cv-335-JPG-DGW
WILKERSON, Magistrate Judge:
Now pending before the Court is the Motion for Sanctions filed by Defendant, United
States of America, on May 9, 2016 (Doc. 34). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is
Plaintiff Roger A. Griggs filed this action on March 27, 2015, pro se, alleging his
constitutional rights were violated while he was in the custody of the United States Bureau of
Prisons, incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois (“USP-Marion”). More
specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he informed prison officials of threats made by his cellmate;
however, prison officials ignored the threats, causing Plaintiff to be attacked and brutally beaten
by his cellmate on June 23, 2014. Following an initial screening of Plaintiff’s complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on a Federal Tort Claims Act claim against
Defendant USA and on a Bivens claim against unknown defendants for failing to protect Plaintiff
from an excessive risk of inmate assault, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
On March 7, 2016, the Court dismissed the unknown defendants, allowing Plaintiff to
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proceed only on his FTCA claim against the United States (See Doc. 30). Subsequently, on May
9, 2016, Defendant USA filed the motion for sanctions now before the Court (Doc. 34).
In its motion, Defendant asserts that on March 15, 2016 it properly noticed Plaintiff’s
deposition for 1:00 p.m. on April 19, 2016 at the U.S. Attorney’s Office located in Fairview
Heights, Illinois (See Doc. 32-1, pp. 8-10). In accordance with the notice, counsel for Defendant,
a representative of the BOP, and a certified court reporter convened for the deposition; however,
Plaintiff failed to appear (See Id. at pp. 1-6). Defendant asserts that Plaintiff failed to contact
opposing counsel or his office to indicate his inability to appear for the deposition. On May 4,
2016, Plaintiff contacted opposing counsel, but provided no justifiable reason for why he did not
contact counsel prior the April 19, 2016 deposition. Accordingly, Defendant asks that the Court
order Plaintiff to pay the costs of the court reporter related to the taking of April 19, 2016
deposition in the amount of $169.20 (see Doc. 32-2), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
Plaintiff’s response to Defendant’s motion for sanctions was due on May 23, 2016. No
response was filed; however, Plaintiff’s retained counsel, Attorney Jarrod P. Beasley, entered his
notice of appearance on behalf of Plaintiff on June 1, 2016 (See Doc. 35). In light of the entry of
Attorney Beasley, the Court, sua sponte, granted Plaintiff additional time, up to and including July
7, 2016 to respond to Defendant’s motion for sanctions (See Docs. 43 and 44). As of the date of
this Order, no response has been filed.
Federal Rule 37(d)(1)(A) provides that the Court may order sanctions if a party fails to
appear at his deposition after being served with proper notice. Available sanctions include the
payment of reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees and costs, as well as those listed in Rule
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In this instance, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff failed to appear for his properly noticed
deposition. Plaintiff has failed to respond and, as such, has not provided the Court with any
argument to the contrary. The Court, in its discretion, deems Plaintiff’s failure to respond an
admission of the merits of Defendant’s motion pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(g). As it is undisputed
that Plaintiff failed to appear for his properly noticed deposition, despite having ample time and
opportunity to notify opposing counsel of any scheduling conflicts, and Plaintiff has since failed to
articulate how his failure to attend the deposition was “substantially justified,” the Court finds it
appropriate to award Defendant the reasonable costs incurred in scheduling the deposition in the
amount of $169.20. Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion for Sanctions (Doc. 34) is GRANTED.
Plaintiff is hereby ORDERED to pay the $169.20 court reporter fee by October 14, 2016.
Plaintiff is WARNED that his failure to comply with this Order will result in additional sanctions.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: September 19, 2016
DONALD G. WILKERSON
United States Magistrate Judge
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