The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRIS
On November 28, 1995, this Court issued an order to show cause why plaintiffs' counsel should not be held in contempt for her failure to obey the Court's order of July 19, 1995, which granted defendants' motion for sanctions. Now before the Court are plaintiffs' counsel's "Motion To Vacate Entry of Default Judgment" and her response to the Court's show cause order, defendants' motion for further sanctions, and plaintiffs' counsel's late-filed response to defendants' motion for further sanctions.
A discussion of the history of this action is warranted. On August 15, 1994, plaintiffs filed a complaint and a motion for a temporary restraining order. Plaintiffs claimed that defendants violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), 29 U.S.C. § 401 et seq. (1985), when they placed Local 12 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in trusteeship and subsequently allegedly designated delegates to attend an AFGE convention in a manner not proper under the LMRDA. Plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order Was denied on August 17, 1994.
On October 20, 1994, defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs never responded to defendants' dispositive motion. On December 22, 1994, United States District Judge John Helm Pratt, to whom the case had been transferred, treated defendants' motion as conceded pursuant to Local Rule 108(b) and dismissed plaintiffs' action on mootness grounds.
Seven months passed, and there was no opposition to defendants' motion for sanctions. On July 19, 1995, the court granted defendants' motion for sanctions and directed that plaintiffs' counsel reimburse defendants for their attorney's fees in the amount of $ 6,924.00.
See Bergin v. Sturdivant, Civil Action No. 94-1777 (D.D.C. filed July 19, 1995) (citing Geller v. Randi, 309 U.S. App. D.C. 269, 40 F.3d 1300 (D.C. Cir. 1994), for the proposition that a motion for sanctions may be treated as conceded and granted if the party to be sanctioned fails to respond).
On November 3, 1995, after making repeated attempts to discuss payment arrangements with plaintiffs' counsel, defendants filed a motion for an order to show cause why plaintiffs' counsel should not be held in contempt of court for her failure to obey the Court's Order granting sanctions. On November 28, 1995, the Court granted defendants' motion and issued a show cause order. As noted above, plaintiffs' counsel responded on December 11, 1995, with a "Motion To Vacate Entry of Default Judgment."
On December 18, 1995, defendants filed a motion for further Rule 11 sanctions, in light of plaintiffs' counsel's response to the show cause order. On January 25, 1996, plaintiffs' counsel filed an out-of-time response to defendants' motion for further sanctions. (Plaintiffs' counsel moved for leave to late-file her response, and defendants did not oppose that motion.)
Motion To Vacate Default Judgment
Plaintiffs' counsel's motion to vacate the "default judgment" against her is without merit. First, no "default judgment" has been entered against plaintiffs or plaintiffs' counsel. When plaintiffs failed to respond to defendants' motion to dismiss, the motion was treated as conceded pursuant to Local Rule 108(b) and the complaint was dismissed with prejudice on mootness grounds on December 22, 1994. Plaintiffs' counsel never appealed the Court's Order dismissing the case; in fact, she apparently agrees that the case was rightly dismissed, since she notes in her response to the Court's show cause order that she "acquiesced in the dismissal." See Resp. to Order To Show Cause at 5. On July 19, 1995, also pursuant to Local Rule 108(b), the Court ordered sanctions against plaintiffs' counsel, after plaintiffs and plaintiffs' counsel failed to respond to defendants' motion for sanctions.
Neither of these orders constitutes a "default judgment."
The Court will assume that what plaintiffs' counsel actually is requesting in her "Motion To Vacate Entry of Default Judgment" is vacating of the Court's ordering of sanctions. Her motion is denied. The Order granting sanctions against plaintiffs' counsel was filed on July 19, 1995. Any motion to reconsider or to vacate the Court's Order should have been filed within 10 days of entry of the Court's Order, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), and any appeal from the Court's Order should have been filed within thirty days thereafter, see Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(1).