Stewart v. Durham et al
ORDER denying 136 Motion for Attorney's Fees. Signed by District Judge Carlton W. Reeves on 9/26/2017. (AC)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
ERICA N. STEWART
CAUSE NO. 3:16-CV-744-CWR-LRA
Belhaven University has moved to impose additional monetary sanctions on Erica N.
Stewart and her attorney Carlos Moore. Docket No. 136. Although the motion is not fully
briefed, the undersigned is cognizant of the Supreme Court’s admonition that fee disputes
“should not result in a second major litigation,” and desires to resolve the issue before the parties
expend more resources on their response and rebuttal. Fox v. Vice, 563 U.S. 826, 838 (2011)
(quotation marks and citation omitted).
In granting Belhaven’s motions for sanctions and summary judgment, the Court held
Stewart and Moore accountable for failing to comply with their discovery obligations. Docket
No. 134. The Order first recited how “an appropriate discovery sanction will take into account
principles of deterrence, restitution, and punishment in proportion to the significance of the
violation,” then settled on a monetary amount and directed payment to particular injured
stakeholders. Id. at 2 (citation omitted).
Belhaven presses for additional sanctions, essentially to advance its interest in restitution.
But that interest, important as it is, has to be weighed alongside the deterrent effect and
punishment inflicted by the sanctions (including factual findings that will have continuing
resonance to Stewart and Moore), in proportion to the severity of the offense. And the balancing
of all of those factors does not, in the undersigned’s opinion, support an increased award.
The motion is denied.
SO ORDERED, this the 26th day of September, 2017.
s/ Carlton W. Reeves
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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