The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge
Upon the referral of this matter to me, I issued the following order:
All settlement discussions held before the Magistrate Judge are confidential. It is therefore, hereby, ORDERED that any participant who discloses what occurred during those discussions will be held in contempt of court and may be punished by a fine or imprisonment or both. It is further, hereby, ORDERED, that counsel who breach the confidentiality of settlement discussions will be immediately referred for disciplinary action.
Williams v. Johanns, No. 03-2245 (D.D.C. July 21, 2005) (Order).
On March 9, 2006, I held a mediation session during which counsel for the plaintiff, James W. Myart, Jr., asked for my permission to submit materials pertaining to a matter before Judge Flannery. I granted him permission to do so and, on March 14, 2006, plaintiffs' counsel filed Plaintiffs' Memorandum Submission on Mediation as Authorized by Magistrate Judge Facciola ("Pls. Mem."). In that document, plaintiffs' counsel stated: "Settlement was not discussed based [upon] Mr. Elbert Lin's representation that the DOJ saw no liability in the case." Pls. Mem. ¶ 2. Additionally, in paragraph 1 of the same document, counsel states that another participant in the mediation, a Mr. Gibson, "admitted to Judge Facciola that he did not have authority to settle the case." Id. ¶ 1. In paragraph 3, counsel refers to a statement that he made in the mediation session and then, in paragraph 4, paraphrases what the attorney for the Department of Justice stated as to the necessity of having present an official from the United States Department of Agriculture. Id. ¶¶ 3-4.
I consider these statements to be a violation of my order and I shall order Mr. Myart to show cause why he should not be held in contempt by Judge Kollar-Kotelly for violating my order.
IT IS ORDERED THAT JAMES W. MYART, JR. show cause on April 19, 2006 at 10 a.m. before the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly why he should not be held in contempt.
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