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Geraldo v. Richland Holdings, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 17, 2019

DANY GERALDO and WENDOLY GUZMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
RICHLAND HOLDINGS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendants RC Willey Financial Services (“RC Willey”) and Richland Holdings, Inc.'s, d/b/a/ AcctCorp of Southern Nevada (“AcctCorp”) (collectively, “defendants”) motion for attorneys' fees. (ECF No. 82). Plaintiffs Dany Geraldo and Wendoly Guzman (“plaintiffs”) filed a late response without leave of the court (ECF No. 88), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 91).

         Also before the court is plaintiffs' second motion to extend time to file a response to defendants' motion for attorneys' fees. (ECF No. 87). Defendants filed a response to the motion. (ECF No. 90). Plaintiffs have not filed a reply, and the time to do so has passed.

         I. Facts

         This motion arises out of the court's grant of dismissal of plaintiff's claims and the subsequent motion and appellate practice that transpired thereafter.

         On July 26, 2017, the court granted defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claims against them, with prejudice, on the basis of claim preclusion. (ECF No. 23). On August 9, 2017, defendants filed their first motion for attorneys' fees. (ECF No. 28). On August 14, 2017, while the motion for attorneys' fees was in the process of being briefed by the parties, plaintiffs filed their notice of appeal of the court's order granting dismissal. (ECF No. 30).

         On March 29, 2018, after full briefing on plaintiffs' appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed this court's decision to dismiss plaintiffs' claims with prejudice. (ECF No. 41). The following day, the court granted defendants' motion for attorneys' fees, awarding defendants a total of $34, 853.50 in fees and $1, 495.61 in costs. (ECF No. 40). In its order, the court held that plaintiffs brought the suit in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment and awarded defendants attorneys' fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3). Id.

         After dismissal of the case was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit and attorneys' fees judgments were entered on behalf of RC Willey and AcctCorp, defendants made efforts toward collection, including filing a motion (and amended motion) for a judgment debtor exam (“JDE”). (ECF Nos. 51, 53). On June 6, 2018, Magistrate Judge Leen granted defendants' motion for JDEs, ordering plaintiffs to produce certain financial documents on or before June 20, 2018, and appear for the JDEs at the law offices of defendants' counsel on June 27, 2018. (ECF No. 56).

         Plaintiffs failed to produce the financial documents as ordered by Magistrate Judge Leen by the date specified. (ECF No. 58). Instead, plaintiffs filed a motion for stay of execution on June 23, 2018, offering to post a surety bond in the amount of $39, 698.43. (ECF No. 57). Plaintiffs also did not appear for their court-ordered JDEs on June 27, 2018. See (ECF Nos. 58-2, 58-3). Accordingly, defendants filed a motion for contempt sanctions on July 5, 2018, to compensate defendants' counsel for fees and costs incurred as a result of plaintiffs' failure to appear. (ECF No. 58).

         On July 19, 2018, while defendants' motion for contempt sanctions was still pending, plaintiffs filed an “emergency” motion for protective order “to protect [p]laintiffs from the annoyance, oppression, embarrassment, and undue burden stemming from [defendants' motion for JDEs] . . .” (ECF No. 61). Subsequently, this court denied plaintiffs' motion for stay of execution and Magistrate Judge Leen denied plaintiffs' motion for protective order. (ECF Nos. 64, 74).

         On July 30, 2018, plaintiffs filed a second motion for stay of execution, again offering to post a surety bond, this time in the amount of $42, 532.21. (ECF No. 65). However, in plaintiffs' reply brief on the motion, plaintiffs informed the court that “circumstances” had changed, and that they found “themselves without the financial means to secure the collateral needed for the proposed bonds.” (ECF No. 72). Accordingly, plaintiffs requested that the court grant their motion for stay of execution without posting a bond. Id. The court subsequently denied plaintiffs' motion for their failure to post a bond or cite adequate authority to convince the court that the posting of a bond was unnecessary. See (ECF No. 83).

         On August 14, 2018, Magistrate Judge Leen held a hearing at which she granted defendants' motion for contempt sanctions and ordered plaintiffs to appear for rescheduled JDEs. (ECF No. 74). At the hearing, Magistrate Judge Leen admonished plaintiffs for bringing its various post-judgment motions while simultaneously failing to appear for a court-ordered obligation. (ECF No. 79 at 17) (hearing transcript). When plaintiffs' counsel failed to provide an adequate explanation for its actions, Magistrate Judge Leen concluded that plaintiffs had acted in bad faith in failing to attend the JDEs. Id. at 18.

         On September 12, 2018, plaintiffs appeared for their rescheduled JDEs, which were to be conducted separately. (ECF Nos. 82-4, 82-5). At their respective JDEs, plaintiffs each denied ever receiving notice from their counsel, Vernon Nelson (“Nelson”), of the judgment entered against them on defendants' first motion for attorneys' fees, nor of their obligations to produce various financial documents and attend the court-ordered JDEs. See Id. Moreover, plaintiffs denied any knowledge of Nelson having filed the various motions for stay of execution in which plaintiffs represented their willingness and ability to post a surety bond. Id.

         Now, defendants move for fees and costs in the amount of $68, 478.42 to cover such expenditures incurred since the filing of their first motion for attorneys' fees. (ECF No. 82).

         II. ...


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