Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. v. Prinzo
ORDER re 110 MOTION for Sanctions filed by Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. The parties shall contact the Court, within 10 days from the date of entry of this Order, in order to set a date for the hearing regarding Ronaldo Designer Jewelry's Motion for Additional Sanctions. Signed by Honorable David C. Bramlette, III on 4/23/2018 (ECW)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
RONALDO DESIGNER JEWELRY, INC.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:14-cv-73-DCB-MTP
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This cause comes before the Court on the plaintiff Ronaldo
Sanctions Against the defendant Phillip Prinzo (“Prinzo”) (docket
entry 110), filed January 22, 2018.
The pro se defendant has not
responded to the Motion.
The Court previously found Prinzo in contempt of Court, and
imposed sanctions against him.
Ronaldo alleged that “monetary
sanctions and all other sanctions are insufficient,” in this
case, and asked the Court to enter more stringent sanctions
purges himself of contempt.
The Court required Prinzo to show cause, if any, for his
incarceration, should not be imposed against him.
further warned that failure to respond to the Court’s Order could
result in additional sanctions against him, as requested by the
Prinzo was previously sanctioned in the amount of $1,447.31
for his failure to attend the settlement conference and was
discovery requests, and produce the records identified in Exhibit
A to the Amended Notice to Take Deposition (docket entry 46-1).
Prinzo has continuously failed to pay to Ronaldo the sum of
$1,447.31 in sanctions.
Prinzo has also failed to otherwise
comply, and has yet to produce the records identified in Exhibit
A to the Amended Notice to Take Deposition (docket entry 46-1) as
ordered in prior Orders (docket entries 74 and 93) and this
Court’s Judgment and Order (docket entry 109).
Prinzo has not
only ignored court orders since the inception of this case, but
has also ignored sanctions imposed by the Court thus far, clearly
sufficient and do not have a deterrent effect.
Since Prinzo has
shown that such monetary and other sanctions are insufficient,
Ronaldo has asked the Court to enter additional, more stringent
sanctions, such as incarceration, until he purges himself of
In its Judgment and Order (docket entry 109), the Court
expressly reserved the right to impose additional sanctions or a
finding of criminal contempt, if warranted, in the event Prinzo
records identified in Exhibit A to the Amended Notice to Take
As Prinzo continues to refuse to comply with Court
orders and failed to purge himself of contempt, the only recourse
is for the Court to impose additional sanctions as reserved in
its Judgment and Order (docket entry 109).
Given that monetary
and other sanctions have failed to have a deterrent effect upon
the defendant, Ronaldo asks the Court to exercise its authority
Incarceration is an appropriate civil contempt penalty.
contempt proceedings may yield a conditional jail term or fine.”
Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 691 (1978).
Court of Appeals has reached a similar holding.
The Fifth Circuit
For example, the
Fifth Circuit has held that “[a] fixed term of imprisonment, with
the proviso that the contemnor will be released if he complies
with the court order, is a proper penalty for civil contempt and
the imposition of such a penalty does not make the proceeding
In re Dinnan, 625 F.2d 1146, 1149 (5th Cir. 1980).
In fact, the Fifth Circuit has held on numerous occasions that
incarceration in an appropriate penalty for civil contempt.
United States v. Brewer, No. 93-1168, 1993 U.S. App. LEXIS 39606,
at *2 (5th Cir. July 23, 1993)(unpublished); Waffenschmidt v.
Mackay, 763 F.2d 711 (5th Cir. 1985).
In United States v. Brewer, the Fifth Circuit upheld the
lower court’s finding of civil contempt ordering the defendants
to comply with the Court’s order or face incarceration and a fine
until they purged themselves of the contempt.
See Brewer, supra,
In Brewer, the government petitioned the district court
for an order to enforce IRS summonses for William and Janyne
Brewer to testify and produce various records relating to their
income, which the district court ordered them to do.
Id. at *1.
Subsequently, the government moved for civil contempt as a result
of the Brewers’ refusal to answer.
After a hearing, the
court ordered the Brewers to comply within a certain time frame
or face both a fine and incarceration until they complied.
id. at *2.
Although William Brewer was not a part of the appeal
to the Fifth Circuit, William’s motion to vacate the contempt
order was denied by the district court and he was fined and
incarcerated until he purged himself of civil contempt.
without opinion and the appeal related only to his wife, Janyne
Brewer, who claimed her incarceration was invalid.
incarceration for Janyne Brewer, as well.
See id. at
Id. at *7.
Additionally, in Waffenschmidt v. Mackay, Waffenschmidt sued
Mackay for securities fraud relating to money paid to him for
stock in a Mississippi corporation.
See Waffenschmidt, supra.,
The district court ordered Mackay to pay $430,000 of the
proceeds from the stock sale to the court, but Mackay was unable
to do so because he had already transferred the funds.
The Court held a hearing requiring Mackay to show cause why he
should not be held in contempt.
The Court found Mackay
guilty of civil contempt in August and ordered him jailed until
he purged himself of contempt by complying with the Court’s
Mackay remained in jail until November when the
It is clear from the case law cited above that incarceration
can be imposed as a sanction and is a proper civil penalty.
Furthermore, it is clear that such a sanction does not deem the
Rather, a fixed term of incarceration can
be ordered as a civil contempt sanction where the contemnor is
released upon compliance with the court’s order.
This type of
civil sanction is clearly within this Court’s authority.
Court may exercise its authority and order Prinzo to be confined
This is necessary given that Prinzo has
failed to comply with monetary and other civil sanctions.
Those monetary and other civil sanctions have clearly failed
to produce a deterrent effect.
Prinzo continues to refuse to pay
Ronaldo the sum of $1,447.31, as mandated in the Court’s Order
entered August 26, 2016 (docket entry 74).
Prinzo also refused
several orders to do so.
As a result, the plaintiff submits that
the only remedy remaining is the civil sanction of incarceration.
Ronaldo requests sanctions of the type outlined above because it
has already been shown that a monetary sanction awarding Ronaldo
its expenses, attorney fees, and costs incurred as result of
Prinzo’s noncompliance is insufficient.
Thus, Ronaldo submits
appropriate and necessary in this matter.
Ronaldo requests that this Court enter additional sanctions
against Prinzo for his failure to purge himself of civil contempt
by not producing the records identified in Exhibit A to the
Amended Notice to Take Deposition (docket entry 46-1).
reserved the right to impose additional sanctions in its Judgment
and Order of September 11, 2017 (docket entry 109).
the Court to impose additional sanctions at this time.
also asks the Court to impose the additional civil contempt
sanction of incarceration because Prinzo has demonstrated that
monetary and other sanctions will be ignored.
therefore requests the Court to confine the defendant until the
requested documents are produced, and for such other relief as
the Court deems just and proper.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties, plaintiff Ronaldo
appear before the Court for a hearing at a date and time to be
set by the Court.
The parties shall contact the Court, within 10
days from the date of entry of this Order, in order to set a date
for the hearing.
Defendant Prinzo is advised that he must appear
before the Court and show cause why additional sanctions against
him should not be ordered, and he must show cause why he should
not be incarcerated until he complies with the Court’s Order.
he fails to contact the Court or fails to appear at the hearing,
including incarceration, against him.
SO ORDERED, this the 23rd day of April, 2018.
/s/ David Bramlette
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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