United States District Court, D. Nevada
J. KOPPE United States Magistrate Judge
February 8, 2017, the parties filed a stipulation, asking the
Court to set a settlement conference, which the Court granted
on February 9, 2017. Docket Nos. 43, 45. The Court scheduled
the settlement conference for March 29, 2017 and ordered the
parties to submit their confidential settlement conference
statements no later than 3:00 p.m. on March 22, 2017. Docket
No. 45. On March 24, 2017, when Plaintiff had failed to meet
the original deadline, the Court ordered Plaintiff to submit
his confidential settlement conference statement no later
than 12:00 p.m. on March 27, 2017. Docket No. 54. The Court
warned Plaintiff that failure to comply with that order may
result in sanctions and/or vacating the scheduled settlement
conference. Id. Plaintiff failed to submit his
confidential settlement conference statement as ordered. On
March 27, 2017, therefore, the Court vacated the settlement
conference and ordered Plaintiff and his counsel to show
cause in writing, no later than April 3, 2017, why he and/or
his counsel should not be sanctioned for violating the
Court's orders. Docket No. 55.
submits that, on March 29, 2017, he and his counsel appeared
for the settlement conference, apparently unaware that it had
been vacated. See, e.g., Docket No. 59 at 3.
Plaintiff's counsel submits that she subsequently
reviewed the docket and submitted, ex parte, a
belated confidential settlement conference statement and a
document that appeared to relate to the Court's order to
show cause at Docket No. 55. On March 31, 2017, noting that
the submission violated Local Rule IA 7-2(b) and that
Defendant would not be able to respond to an order to show
cause response that it had not seen, the Court notified the
parties that it would destroy the ex parte
submission. Docket No. 58. The Court further admonished
Plaintiff to comply with the Local Rules and the Court's
prior order by filing a response to the order to show cause
on the docket, no later than April 3, 2017. Id.
Plaintiff complied. Docket No. 59. Defendant subsequently
filed a response to Plaintiff's response, and Plaintiff
filed a reply. Docket Nos. 60, 64.
submits that his counsel's employee delivered his
confidential settlement conference statement on March 22,
2017, and speculates that someone in this Court's
Clerk's Office misplaced it. Docket No. 59 at 2, 9.
Plaintiff submits that his counsel did not see the
Court's subsequent orders at Docket Nos. 54 and 55
because her office was closed from Friday, March 24, through
Monday, March 27, 2017. Docket No. 59 at 3. Defendant
responds that sanctions are warranted for Plaintiff's
counsel's failure to comply with this Court's orders
because, Defendant submits, Plaintiff's counsel was not
diligent and Plaintiff has cited no circumstances that would
render an award of sanctions unjust. Docket No. 60 at 5-8.
Defendant also submits, however, that the Court should
sanction Plaintiff's attorney because Plaintiff himself
does not appear to have knowingly violated any court orders.
Id. at 8.
Court may issue sanctions pursuant to Rul 16(f) for failure to
comply with a settlement conference order. See,
e.g., Pitman v. Brinker Int'l, Inc., 216
F.R.D. 481, 483 (D. Ariz. 2003), amended on review on
other grounds, 2003 WL 23353478 (D. Ariz. 2003). The
Court's order scheduling the ENE session is a pretrial
order within the meaning of Rule 16(f). Pitman, 216
F.R.D. at 483. Violations of Rule 16 are neither technical
nor trivial. Wilson v. KRD Trucking W., 2013 WL
83699, at *1 (D. Nev. Mar. 6, 2013) (citing Martin Family
Tr. v. NECO/Nostalgia Enters. Co., 186 F.R.D. 601, 603)
(E.D. Cal. 1999)). It is clear that “‘the rule is
broadly remedial and its purpose is to encourage forceful
judicial management.'” Wilson, 2013 WL
836995, at *1 (quoting Sherman v. United States, 801
F.2d 1133, 1135 (9th Cir. 1986).
have an “‘unflagging duty to comply with clearly
communicated case-management orders.'” Martin
Family Tr., 186 F.R.D. at 604 (quoting Rosario-Diaz
v. Gonzalez, 140 F.3d 312, 315 (1st Cir. 1998)). Thus,
whether the party and/or his counsel disobeyed a court order
intentionally is irrelevant; sanctions may be imposed when
the parties and their counsel disobey a court order. See
Lucas Auto. Eng'g, Inc. v. Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc., 275 F.3d 762, 769 (9th Cir. 2001). Similarly,
courts and commentators agree that a court may impose
sanctions for a party's unexcused failure to comply with
a Rule 16 order, even if that order was not made in bad
faith. See, e.g., Henderson v. Boneventura,
2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8965, at *9-*20 (D. Nev. Jan. 24, 2014)
(collecting cases and citing 6A Charles A. Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure
§ 1531 (1990)).
Court finds that, while it would be just to sanction
Plaintiff's counsel in this instance, the Court will
exercise its discretion to ADMONISH Plaintiff's counsel.
While it is possible that someone in the Clerk's Office
misplaced Plaintiff's submission, Plaintiff fails to
adequately explain counsel's failure to monitor the
docket. The Court issued a clear order on March 24, 2017,
that should have alerted counsel to the fact that the Court
did not receive the confidential ENE statement. Regardless of
whether counsel's office was open that day, counsel has
an obligation to manage her caseload, which includes closely
monitoring the docket and complying with court orders.
Similarly, the fact that counsel's office was closed does
not mean that she was unable to receive electronic
notifications or access the Court's electronic filing
system. Additionally, even assuming, arguendo, that
office closure justifies counsel's lack of diligence,
counsel's office was open the day before the ENE, yet she
chose not to check the docket. See Docket No. 64 at
4. Counsel's conduct has wasted the time and resources of
this Court, her client, Defendant, and opposing counsel.
reasons discussed above, the Court hereby ADMONISHES
Plaintiffs counsel for failing to comply with the Court's
orders. In the future, Plaintiffs counsel must ensure that
she carefully complies with all Court orders, Local Rules,
and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including monitoring
the docket of any case on which she is counsel. Failure to do
so may result in sanctions.
 Plaintiff submits that counsel's
office “was closed on Friday - Monday (March 25, 2017
to March 27, 2017).” Id. The Court assumes
that Plaintiff was ...