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Young v. Kraus

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

January 22, 2018

CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL M. KRAUS, ET AL., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SANCTIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF

          Kevin S.C. Chang United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is Defendants Michael Kraus and Tree Works, Inc.'s (collectively “Defendants”) Motion for Sanctions Against Plaintiff (“Motion”), filed December 5, 2017. Plaintiff Christopher Young (“Plaintiff”) did not file a response.

         This matter came on for hearing on January 22, 2018. Plaintiff appeared pro se by phone and Ronald Shigekane, Esq., appeared on behalf of Defendants. After careful consideration of Defendants' submissions, the applicable law, and the arguments of Plaintiff and counsel, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that the Motion be GRANTED for the reasons articulated below.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 10, 2016, Defendants filed a motion to compel answers to interrogatories. Doc. No. 90. The Court orally granted the motion at the December 20, 2016 hearing and ordered Plaintiff to submit responses to interrogatories by February 6, 2017. Doc. No. 104. A written order issued on January 12, 2017 (“Discovery Order”), directing Plaintiff to provide complete and detailed responses to Defendants' interrogatories by February 6, 2017. Doc. No. 105. Plaintiff attempted to appeal the Discovery Order, but his request was denied without prejudice because it did not comply with Local Rule 74.1 and because it was untimely. See Order Denying the Portion of Plaintiff's Motion Seeking Reconsideration of This Court's January 27, 2017 Order and Denying Without Prejudice the Portion of the Motion Attempting to Appeal the Order or Rulings Issued by the Magistrate Judge (“Reconsideration Order”), Doc. No. 111 at 8. U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi afforded Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended appeal of the Order, but imposed a deadline of March 3, 2017 to do so, and identified issues to be addressed in any amended appeal. Id. at 8-9. Plaintiff did not file an amended appeal of the Order.

         On March 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed an appeal of the Reconsideration Order. Doc. No. 114. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction on April 21, 2017. Doc. No. 118.

         On May 1, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for sanctions against Plaintiff. Doc. No. 119. The motion was heard on June 23, 2017. The same day, this Court issued an Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Sanctions Against Plaintiff (“Sanction Order”). Doc. No. 125. This Court declined to recommend dismissal at that time, but again ordered Plaintiff to provide complete and detailed responses to Defendants' interrogatories by July 7, 2017, and awarded Defendants the fees and costs incurred in connection with the motion. Id. at 5. The Court cautioned Plaintiff that his failure to timely produce responses would result in the imposition of additional sanctions, including the possibility of dismissal. Id. at 6. On June 29, 2017, the Court issued an Entering Order (“EO”) concluding that defense counsel reasonably and necessarily incurred $739.50 in fees. Doc. No. 129.

         On July 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Verification of Plaintiff's Objection to the 6/23/17 Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Sanctions Against Plaintiff.” Doc. No. 130. On October 12, 2017, Judge Kobayashi issued an Order Denying Plaintiff's Appeal of the Magistrate Judge's Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Sanctions Against Plaintiff and the Magistrate Judge's Entering Order Determining the Amount of the Sanction (“10/12/17 Order”). Doc. No. 134. Plaintiff was ordered to provide complete and detailed responses to the interrogatories by November 9, 2017, and to remit payment of the $739.50 sanction by November 16, 2017. Id. at 12.

         On October 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Verification Plaintiff's Objection to Judge's Order 10/12/17 Continue to Avoid this Court's Lack of Jurisdiction Based on Undisputed Violations in Removal 09/28/2015 Proof of Evidence in the Docket at [Dkt. Nos. 1-135].” Doc. No. 135. In an October 31, 2017 EO, Judge Kobayashi construed the filing as a motion for reconsideration of the 10/12/17 Order and denied the same. Doc. No. 136. The November 9 and 16, 2017 deadlines to produce responses to the interrogatories and to pay the $739.50 sanction, respectively, remained in effect. Id. A formal order issued on November 7, 2017 (“11/7/17 Order”), again ordering Plaintiff to comply with the foregoing deadlines. Doc. No. 137.

         On November 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Verification Plaintiff's Reply and Objection to Judge Kobayashi's Order/Judgement [Dkt. No. 134] 10/12/2017, [Dkt. No. 136] 10/31/2017 and Judge Chang's Order [Dkt. No. 125] 06/23/2017.” Doc. No. 139. Because Plaintiff signed and mailed this filing prior to receiving the 11/7/17 Order, Judge Kobayashi construed it as a supplemental memorandum in support of Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. Doc. No. 141.

         On November 14, 2017, Plaintiff appealed the 10/12/17 Order.[1] Doc. No. 140. On December 19, 2017, the Ninth Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Doc. No. 146.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants request that the Court impose terminating sanctions and award attorneys' fees incurred in connection with this Motion. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 37(b)(2)(A) states:

         If a party or a party's officer, director, or managing agent--or a witness designated under Rule 30(b)(6) or 31(a)(4)--fails to obey an order[2] to provide or permit discovery, including an order under Rule 26(f), 35, or 37(a), the court where the ...


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