Keawsri et al v. Ramen-ya Inc. et al
ORDER granting 750 Motion to Compel. The Court will give him time to come into compliance before contempt sanctions begin to run. The Court therefore imposes a sanction on Kora of $1,000 per diem, beginning on November 28, 2023, for each day that he remains in violation of the Court's July 6, 2023 Order. Those funds are to be paid directly to Plaintiffs on a weekly basis beginning on December 5, 2023. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to close Dkt. No. 750. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Lewis J. Liman on 11/15/2023) (tg) Transmission to Finance Unit (Cashiers) for processing.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ORNRAT KEAWSRI, et al.,
RAMEN-YA INC. et al,
LEWIS J. LIMAN, United States District Judge:
Plaintiffs Ornrat Keawsri, Sachina Nagae, Takayuki Sekiya, Siwapon Topon, Pimparat
Ketchatrot, Thiratham Raksuk, Parichat Kongtuk, Tanon Leechot, Thanatharn Kulaptip,
Wanwisa Nakwirot, Natcha Natatpisit, and Parada Mongkolkajit (collectively “Plaintiffs” or
“Judgment Creditors”) move, pursuant to the Court’s inherent power, for an Order adjudging that
Defendant and Judgment Debtor Kenji Kora (“Kora”) is in civil contempt of the Court for his
failure to comply with this Court’s Order dated July 6, 2023, Dkt. No. 681, directing Kora to pay
$149,000 to Judgment Creditors. Dkt. No. 750.
“Federal courts possess certain ‘inherent powers,’ not conferred by rule or statute, ‘to
manage their own affairs so as to achieve the orderly and expeditious disposition of cases.’”
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger, 137 S. Ct. 1178, 1186 (2017) (quoting Link v. Wabash
R. Co., 370 U.S. 626, 630–31 (1962)). A court’s “inherent power to sanction derives from the
fact that courts are ‘vested, by their very creation, with power to impose silence, respect, and
decorum, in their presence, and submission to their lawful mandates.’” Schlaifer Nance & Co.,
Inc. v. Est. of Warhol, 194 F.3d 323, 336 (2d Cir. 1999) (quoting Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501
U.S. 32, 43 (1991)). “Civil contempt sanctions serve two purposes: to coerce a party into
compliance, or to compensate the adverse parties for any losses suffered as a result of the lack of
compliance.” 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers E. v. Alaris Health at Hamilton Park, 809
F. App’x 44, 45 (2d Cir 2020). “A contempt order” issued pursuant to a court’s inherent
authority “is warranted only where the moving party establishes by clear and convincing
evidence that the alleged contemnor violated the district court’s edict.” King v. Allied Vision,
Ltd., 65 F.3d 1051, 1058 (2d Cir. 1995). “More specifically, a movant must establish that (1) the
order the contemnor failed to comply with is clear and unambiguous, (2) the proof of
noncompliance is clear and convincing, and (3) the contemnor has not diligently attempted to
comply in a reasonable manner.” Id.
The Court held a hearing on the motion to hold Kora in civil contempt on November 14,
2023. Notice was provided and his counsel had an opportunity to be heard. For the reasons
stated on the record at the hearing, and the reasons that follow, the motion to hold Kora in civil
contempt of the Court is GRANTED. Judgment Creditors moved for an order compelling Kora
to pay Judgment Creditors $149,000 on May 19, 2023. Dkt. No. 652. After Kora did not
respond to the motion, and after the Court held a conference at which Kora was present and did
not object to the Court ruling on the motion, the Court granted Creditors’ motion on July 6, 2023.
Dkt. No. 681. The Court’s order was clear and unambiguous. It read: “Kora is ordered to
immediately pay Judgment Creditors $149,000 in the form of a certified check made payable to
Florence Rostami Law LLC.” Id. at 3. Kora did not submit a motion for reconsideration and has
not yet complied with the order. The proof of his noncompliance is clear and convincing. He
has not paid the $149,000. He also has made no showing of any attempt to comply in a
reasonable manner. His only responses to the motion to hold him in civil contempt were to the
effect that the order was improvidently entered and that the other defendants to this action and
not he should be required to satisfy the Judgment. However, it is black letter law that “an order
issued by a court with jurisdiction over the subject matter and person must be obeyed by the
parties until it is reversed by orderly and proper proceedings.” United States v. United Mine
Workers of Am., 330 U.S. 258, 293 (1947). If Kora disagreed with the Court’s order, he could
have challenged it before it was entered. He did not have the prerogative simply to ignore it.
Moreover, the underlying judgment in this case imposed liability against Kora and the other
defendants jointly and severally. If Kora believes that the other defendants should make him
whole for his liability to Plaintiffs/Judgment Creditors, that is a matter between him and those
other defendants. Dkt. No. 514. It does not give him the right to deprive Plaintiffs/Judgment
Creditors of the relief rightly due to them.
When imposing sanctions pursuant to its inherent powers, a federal court “may go no
further than to redress the wronged party ‘for losses sustained’; it may not impose an additional
amount for the sanctioned party’s misbehavior.” Goodyear Tire, 137 S. Ct. at 1186 (citing Mine
Workers v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821, 826–30 (1994)). “When imposing coercive sanctions, a court
should consider (1) the character and magnitude of the harm threatened by the continued
contumacy, (2) the probable effectiveness of the sanction in bringing about compliance, and (3)
the contemnor’s financial resources and the consequent seriousness of the sanction’s burden.”
New York State Nat. Org. for Women v. Terry, 886 F.2d 1339, 1353 (2d Cir. 1989). Sanctions
should be no “more than . . . necessary to compel compliance.” BOC Aviation Ltd. v.
AirBridgeCargo Airlines, LLC, 2022 WL 17581775, at *17 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 12, 2022). It has
been represented that Kora is outside the United States, returning on November 20, 2023. Dkt.
No. 763. The Court will give him time to come into compliance before contempt sanctions begin
to run. The Court therefore imposes a sanction on Kora of $1,000 per diem, beginning on
November 28, 2023, for each day that he remains in violation of the Court’s July 6, 2023 Order.
Those funds are to be paid directly to Plaintiffs on a weekly basis beginning on December 5,
The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to close Dkt. No. 750.
Dated: November 15, 2023
New York, New York
LEWIS J. LIMAN
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?