Marks v. St. Tammany Parish Sheriffs Office, et al
ORDER AND REASONS - IT IS ORDERED that Joshua Palmintier and Chadwick Collings are sanctioned personally for their conduct in this case in the amount of $1,000 each. This amount must be paid by counsel personally, and may not be paid for by their respective law firms or clients. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the sanction is to be paid by Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Signed by Judge Susie Morgan.(bwn)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
JENNIFER R. MARKS,
SHERIFF RANDY SMITH, IN HIS
CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF THE
PARISH OF ST. TAMMANY, ET AL.,
SECTION: “E” (2)
ORDER AND REASONS
The Court ordered Joshua Palmintier, counsel for the Plaintiff, and Chadwick
Collings, counsel for the Defendants, to appear to show cause as to why they should not
be sanctioned for failing to inform the Court this matter—set for a jury trial on May 22,
2017—settled on Saturday, May 13, 2017.1 Mr. Palmintier and Mr. Collings appeared
before the Court on Monday, May 22, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
On March 14, 2017, the Court issued an order continuing the trial in this matter
until May 22, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.2 After that date, seven motions in limine were filed.3 In
addition, both the plaintiff and defendants filed numerous objections to various trial
exhibits listed by the opposing party.4 The parties filed proposed jury instructions, also
On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the Court issued rulings on two of the motions in
limine.6 On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the Court issued three rulings on motions in limine.7
R. Doc. 137.
R. Doc. 81.
3 R. Docs. 82, 83, 84, 85, 90, 91, 92.
4 R. Docs. 122, 125.
5 R. Doc. 121.
6 R. Docs. 131, 132.
7 R. Docs. 133, 134, 135.
On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Court issued its ruling on the final motion in limine.8 The
Court spent much of Friday, May 19, 2017 reviewing and researching the parties’
objections to exhibits and objections to various jury instructions.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19, 2017, as the Court was preparing to
issue a ruling on the parties’ objections to trial exhibits, Mr. Palmintier’s assistant called
chambers to inform the Court that the case had settled on Saturday, May 13, 2017, six
Local Rule 16.4 for the Eastern District of Louisiana provides:
Whenever a case is settled or otherwise disposed of, counsel must
immediately inform the clerk’s office, the judge to whom the case is allotted,
and all persons subpoenaed as witnesses.9
The Fifth Circuit distinguishes between sanctions imposed pursuant to a court’s
inherent power and sanctions imposed pursuant to a district court’s local rules.10 “Federal
courts enjoy the inherent power to manage their own affairs so as to achieve the orderly
and expeditious disposition of cases.”11 “This power includes the ability to discipline
attorneys, punish for contempt, control admission to its bar, and vacate judgments.”12 For
a district court to sanction an attorney under its inherent powers, it must make a specific
finding that the attorney acted in bad faith.13 But when—as in this matter—a district court
sanctions an attorney for violating a local rule, the court is not required to make a finding
of bad faith.14
R. Doc. 136.
10 In re William Goode, 821 F.3d 553, 558 (5th Cir. 2016).
11 Id. at 558–59 (internal quotations omitted).
12 Id. at 559.
14 Id. (“[T]his Circuit has never explicitly extended this requirement to sanctions imposed pursuant to a
local rule, and we decline to do so here. . . . [W]e conclude that the district court was not required to make
a finding of bad faith before sanctioning [an attorney] under [the local rules].”).
Before sanctioning an attorney, the district court must comply with the mandates
of due process, which demand that the party against whom sanctions may be awarded be
afforded notice and an opportunity to be heard.15 The Court ruled Mr. Palmintier and Mr.
Collings into Court on May 22, 2017 to show cause why they should not be sanctioned.
The Court provided both Mr. Palmintier and Mr. Collings an opportunity to be heard.
The Court finds counsel’s conduct is in violation of Local Rule 16.4, which is
intended to avoid the exact consequences that occurred in this case—wasting of the
Court’s time that could have and should have been spent resolving issues that remain
outstanding in other pending cases.
IT IS ORDERED that Joshua Palmintier and Chadwick Collings are sanctioned
personally for their conduct in this case in the amount of $1,000 each. This amount must
be paid by counsel personally, and may not be paid for by their respective law firms or
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the sanction is to be paid by Friday, May
26, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. to:
Clerk, United States District Court
Eastern District of Louisiana
500 Poydras Street, Room C151
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 22nd day of May, 2017.
_______ __ ________ _________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
FED. R. CIV. P. 11(c).
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