United States District Court, D. Nevada
J. KOPPE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
are simply too crowded for parties to treat scheduling orders
as optional and to submit required court filings at their own
convenience.” Martin Family Trust v. Heco/Nostalgia
Enterps. Co., 186 F.R.D. 601, 603 (E.D. Cal. 1999)
(internal quotations and citation omitted) (imposing
sanctions on attorney for failing to file status report by
ordered deadline). Pending before the Court is the second
order to show cause issued in this case arising out of
violation of an order setting a deadline. Docket No.
are not suggestions or recommendations, they are directives
with which compliance is mandatory.” Gfeller v.
Doyne Med. Clinic, Inc., Case No. 2:14-cv-01940-JCM-
VCF, 2015 WL 5210392, at *8 (D. Nev. Sept. 3, 2015) (citing
Chapman v. Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co., 613 F.2d
193, 197 (9th Cir. 1979) and Weddell v. Stewart, 261
P.3d 1080, 1085 & n.9 (Nev. 2011)). Litigants have an
“unflagging duty to comply with clearly communicated
case-management orders.” Martin Family Trust,
186 F.R.D. at 604.
are several sources of legal authority by which federal
courts enforce their orders. Most pertinent here, Rule 16(f)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires compliance
with any “scheduling or other pretrial order.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(f)(1)(c). Rule 16(f) is “broadly remedial
and its purpose is to encourage forceful judicial
management.” Sherman v. United States, 801
F.2d 1133, 1135 (9th Cir. 1986) (per curiam).
16(f) applies regardless of whether the non-compliance with
the court order was intentional. See, e.g.,
Lucas Auto. Eng'g, Inc. v. Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc., 275 F.3d 762, 769 (9th Cir. 2001). Similarly,
“[i]t is firmly established that sanctions may be
imposed for a party's unexcused failure to comply with a
Rule 16 order, even if that failure was not made in bad
faith.” Hologram USA, Inc. v. Pulse Evolution
Corporation, Case No. 2:14-cv-0772-GMN-NJK, 2016 WL
2757377, at *2 (D. Nev. May 11, 2016) (collecting cases).
“prefer not to spend time lecturing and cajoling
violators into compliance through the imposition of
sanctions.” Dela Rosa v. Scottsdale Mem'l
Health Sys., Inc., 136 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir. 1988).
Nonetheless, violations of orders setting deadlines
“involve a matter most critical to the court itself:
management of its docket and the avoidance of unnecessary
delays in the administration of its cases.” Martin
Family Trust, 186 F.R.D. at 603 (quoting Matter of
Sanction of Baker, 744 F.2d 1440, 1441 (10th Cir. 1984)
(en banc) (internal quotations omitted)).
“Part of the purpose of the sanctioning power-the power
at issue here-is to control litigation and preserve the
integrity of the judicial process.” Nick v.
Morgan's Foods, Inc., 270 F.3d 590, 594 (8th Cir.
2001). Judges have a responsibility to enforce the directives
laid down for the case:
Rules are rules-and the parties must play by them. In the
final analysis, the judicial process depends heavily on the
judge's credibility. To ensure such credibility, a
[magistrate] judge must often be firm in managing crowded
dockets and demanding adherence to announced deadlines. If he
or she sets a reasonable due date, parties should not be
allowed casually to flout it or painlessly escape the
foreseeable consequences of noncompliance.
Legault v. Zambarano, 105 F.3d 24, 28-29 (1st Cir.
1997) (citation omitted). “The court fully understands
the pressures of practicing law; however, the court cannot
allow attorneys to flout deadlines and escape the foreseeable
consequences of doing so.” Rice v. Barnes, 201
F.R.D. 549, 551 (M.D. Ala. 2001). As the Ninth Circuit has
emphasized, a court order setting deadlines “is not a
frivolous piece of paper, idly entered, which can be
cavalierly disregarded by counsel without peril . . . .
Disregard of the order would undermine the court's
ability to control its docket . . . and reward the indolent
and the cavalier.” Johnson v. Mammoth Recreations,
Inc., 975 F.2d 604, 610 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal
quotations and citations omitted).
court determines that Rule 16(f) has been triggered, it has
broad discretion in fashioning an appropriate sanction.
See, e.g., Official Airline Guides, Inc. v.
Goss, 6 F.3d 1385, 1397 (9th Cir. 1993); see
also Local Rule IA 11-8 (the Court may impose “any
and all appropriate sanctions on an attorney” who
violates any order). Violations of orders are “neither
technical nor trivial, ” Martin Family Trust,
186 F.R.D. at 603, and can have severe ramifications. Rule
16(f) itself provides that courts may issue “any just
orders, ” including those authorized by Rule
37(b)(2)(A)(ii)-(vii), which include the initiation of
contempt proceedings and entry of case-dispositive sanctions.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f)(1); see also Malone v.
U.S. Postal Serv., 833 F.2d 128, 130-33 (9th Cir. 1987)
(affirming dismissal sanction). While not expressly
enumerated, the imposition of court fines is within the scope
of the “just orders” permitted by Rule 16(f).
See, e.g., Nick, 270 F.3d at 595-96. Alternative
sanctions for counsel to be better prepared to practice in
the court, such as the requirement to attend continuing legal
education courses, is also within the scope of the
“just orders” permitted by Rule 16(f). See
Cabrera v. New Albertson's, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist.
Lexis 101497, at *7 n.5 (D. Nev. July 19, 2013); see also
Alternative Sanctions in Litigation, 47 N.M. L. Rev.
209, 218 (2017) (“Rule 16(f) permits courts to impose
alternative sanctions on lawyers, and they freely do so using
the rule as authority”). In determining the appropriate
sanction, a primary objective is to deter similar misconduct.
See, e.g., Martin Family Trust, 186 F.R.D.
case was filed more than three years ago. See Docket
No. 1. Given the lengthy stay of this case, the docket
reflects only two primary Court-ordered deadlines for the
entirety of the case. Counsel violated both. First, on May
14, 2019, United States District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey
ordered the parties to file a proposed discovery plan and
proposed scheduling order by June 28, 2019. Docket No. 15.
Despite being provided ample time to comply, the parties
violated that order by not filing a proposed discovery plan,
which resulted in the issuance of an order to show cause.
Docket No. 19. The parties responded to that order to show
cause by indicating that they had violated the earlier order
because they were engaged in settlement talks and had since
settled the case. See Docket No. 21. The Court
declined to impose monetary sanctions given the
circumstances, but admonished the parties and their counsel
for violating an order. Docket No. 22. The Court further
warned that it “expects strict compliance with all
of its orders and deadlines set therein moving
forward.” Id. (emphasis in original).
warning proved completely ineffective. A few days later, on
July 10, 2019, the undersigned ordered the parties to file
dismissal papers by September 9, 2019. Docket No. 23. The
Court instructed that, “[g]iven the age of this
case, the Court is not inclined to extend this
deadline.” Id. (emphasis in
original). Despite the preceding admonition and being
provided ample time to comply, the parties and their
attorneys again violated a court-ordered deadline by not
filing dismissal papers by that date, which resulted in the
issuance of the now-pending second order to show cause.
Docket No. 24.
threshold matter, the Court was very specific that
“Plaintiff, Defendant, Aaron Lancaster, Dana Nitz, Jake
Spencer, Jacqueline Gilbert, Karen Hanks, Diana Ebron, and
Howard Kim” were required to respond to the second
order to show cause. Id. Despite that crystal clear
order, attorneys of record Dana Nitz, Jake Spencer, and
Howard Kim each failed to file a response. Given that these
attorneys have provided no justification of any kind for
their actions and, in doing so, have violated the second
order to show cause itself, the imposition of monetary
sanctions is appropriate in addition to the alternative
sanction identified below. Given those circumstances, Jake
Spencer and Howard Kim must pay a Court fine of $100 each.
Given those circumstances, as well as the previous imposition
of sanctions and issuance of a warning, U.S. Bank,
2018 WL 701816, at *5-6, Dana Nitz must pay a Court fine of