United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
JENNIFER R. MARKS, Plaintiff
SHERIFF RANDY SMITH, IN HIS CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF THE PARISH OF ST. TAMMANY,, Defendants
ORDER AND REASONS
MORGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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. Mr. Palmintier and Mr. Collings appeared
before the Court on Monday, May 22, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
March 14, 2017, the Court issued an order continuing the
trial in this matter until May 22, 2017 at 9:00
After that date, seven motions in limine were
filed. In addition, both the plaintiff and
defendants filed numerous objections to various trial
exhibits listed by the opposing party. The parties filed
proposed jury instructions, also containing
Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the Court issued rulings on two of
the motions in limine. On Thursday, May 18, 2017, the
Court issued three rulings on motions in
limine. On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Court issued
its ruling on the final motion in
limine. The Court spent much of Friday, May 19,
2017 reviewing and researching the parties' objections to
exhibits and objections to various jury instructions.
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 days prior.
Local Rule 16.4 for the Eastern District of Louisiana
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
Fifth Circuit distinguishes between sanctions imposed
pursuant to a court's inherent power and sanctions
imposed pursuant to a district court's local
rules. “Federal courts enjoy the inherent
power to manage their own affairs so as to achieve the
orderly and expeditious disposition of
cases.” “This power includes the ability
to discipline attorneys, punish for contempt, control
admission to its bar, and vacate
judgments.” 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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 ...