Hsueh v. The New York State Department of Financial Services et al

Filing 129

OPINION & ORDER: In view of the Defendants' requests and the Plaintiffs financial condition, the Court hereby imposes monetary sanctions against Ms. Hsueh in the amount of$2,562 (Y2 of her monthly salary). This amount is to be allocated b etween Defendants in proportion to the requested awards: DFS is awarded $2,026 and Guevara is awarded $536. The Court finds that the attorneys' fees sought by Defendants are reasonable. But that is not the only issue. In determining the award of attorneys' fees, a district court should ascertain whether, "in light of [the party's] ability to pay, a lesser sum assessed would have fulfilled the... deterrent purpose without subjecting [the party] to financial ruin. " Faraci v. Hickey-Freeman Co., 607 F.2d 1025, 1029 (2d Cir. 1979). "[W]hen a court awards [a party] attorney's fees, it must take into account the financial circumstances of the [opposing party]." Sassower v. Field, 973 F.2d 7 5, 81 (2d Cir. 1992) (emphasis added). Plaintiffs misconduct, while severe, cannot justify "subjecting [her] to financial ruin." Faraci, 607 F.2d at 1029. Ms. Hsueh has limited financial means. Her annual salary is barely more than the am ount Defendants seek. Furthermore, she was taxed DFS's costs in the amount of $5,302.35, which adds burden to already strained circumstances. See Dkt. No. 124. Accordingly, the Court determines that monetary sanctions in the amount of $2,562 is sufficient. Defendant DFS is awarded $2,026; and Defendant Guevara is awarded $536, and as further set forth in this order. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Crotty on 11/15/2017) (ap)

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