United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR AWARD OF
ATTORNEYS' FEES (DKT. #275)
GLAZER MARGOLIS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
with this litigation is presumed. On February 2, 2016, the jury trial
in this case commenced, and was held on February 3, 4, 9, 10,
11, and 12, 2016. (Dkts. ##250, 252, 254, 257-59). On the
seventh trial day, February 12, 2016, the jury returned a
verdict in favor of defendant, finding that plaintiff did not
prove by a preponderance of the evidence that her First
Amendment-protected union affiliation and/or union activities
were a substantial motivating factor in defendant James
Miron's decision not to promote her to the position of
Deputy Fire Chief. (Dkt. #265). Judgment entered on February
26, 2016 (Dkt. #266), and on April 19, 2016, plaintiff's
Motion for a New Trial was denied. (Dkt. #274; see
Dkts. ##270, 272-73).
4, 2016, defendant filed the pending Motion for Award of
Attorneys' Fees (Dkt. #275),  pursuant to this Court's order in
the Ruling on Multiple Motions in Limine, filed July
25, 2014 (Dkt. #154)["July 2014 Ruling"], which
provided: "Defendant may submit a Motion for
Attorney's Fees to recover fees spent on this motion
[in limine (Dkt. #124)] and the reply brief [Dkt.
#149], and for a reasonable number of hours spent preparing
for his response to plaintiff's damages claim." 2014
WL 3700982, at *12 (citation omitted). On June 8, 2016,
plaintiff filed her brief in opposition to defendant's
Motion (Dkt. #278; see also Dkts. ##276-77), and two
weeks later, defendant filed his reply brief. (Dkt. #279).
reasons stated below, defendant's Motion for
Attorneys' Fees (Dkt. #275) is granted in part and denied
addressed in the July 2014 Ruling, defendant Miron sought to
preclude plaintiff from presenting evidence of compensatory
damages because she failed to provide such information to
defendants, and the Damages Analysis that plaintiff provided
to defendant on September 29, 2011 did "not comport with
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A)(iii)[.]"
2014 WL 3700982, at *9. As this Court explained in that
Ruling, Rule 26 "requires that a plaintiff [-] as best
as the party is able at an early stage in the case -- . . .
provide a computation of each category of damages and . . .
produce the documents on which that computation is
based." Id. (multiple citations & internal
quotations omitted). After finding that plaintiff's
"failure to provide the computation and basis for her
claimed compensatory damages [was] a violation of Rule 26[,
]" this Court addressed the appropriate sanction to
impose under Rule 37(c)(1). Id. at *10-11. This
Court concluded that there was "no evidence that
plaintiff or her counsel acted in bad faith or willfully,
" but that defendant was prejudiced by plaintiff's
failure to comply with Rule 26(a), in that defendant was
"deprived . . . the opportunity to be informed of, and
to prepare his response to, plaintiff's damages
claim." Id. at 11 (footnote omitted).
Accordingly, the Court held:
"Even where preclusion is not ordered under Rule 37, it
is generally appropriate, at a minimum, to require a party
who has not complied with its discovery obligations to pay
the reasonable fees and costs incurred by the moving party in
seeking disclosure and/or in seeking discovery
sanctions." Ritchie Risk-Linked Strategies [Trading
(Ireland), Ltd. v. Coventry First LLC], 280 F.R.D. [147,
] 157 [(S.D.N.Y. 2012)] (multiple citations omitted).
Defendant may submit a Motion for Attorney's Fees to
recover fees spent on this motion and the reply brief,
and for a reasonable number of hours spent preparing for
his response to plaintiff's damages claim. See
id. ("Monetary sanctions are appropriate to punish
the offending party for its actions [and] to deter the
litigant's conduct, sending the message that egregious
conduct will not be tolerated.")(citations &
internal quotations omitted).
Id. at *12 (emphasis added).
sanction ordered in the July 2014 Ruling was ordered pursuant
to Rule 37(c)(1), for a discovery violation under Rule
26(a)(1). The sanction imposed was directed to the briefing
associated with defendant's Motion in Limine, and
defendant's anticipated response to the production by
plaintiff of a Damages Analysis in compliance with Rule
in his pending motion, defendant "does not claim"
the time expended by Attorney Christopher Ciancanelli in
preparing the original Motion in Limine, and he
"expressly waives" the time spent by Attorney
John-Henry Steele in preparing the reply brief. (Dkt. #275,
at 1). Thus, the only amount of fees at issue in this pending
motion is the amount of fees "for a reasonable number of
hours spent preparing for [defendant's] response to
plaintiff's damages claim." 2014 WL 3700982, at *12.
The July 2014 Ruling ordered plaintiff's Amended Damages
Analysis to be produced nine days later, on August 4, 2014.
Id. at *11.
discussed in previous rulings, the course of the case changed
on July 29, 2014, four days after the Court's July 2014
Ruling was filed. On that date, counsel advised the Court
that they were just recently made aware that defendant Miron
had a bankruptcy matter pending in the United States
Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport. See In re James R.
Miron, No. 13-50950 (see Dkts. ##158-59). Six
days later, this Magistrate Judge issued an Order
Administratively Closing File Pending Further Action in
Bankruptcy Court (Dkt. #160); the deadline for the submission
of plaintiff's Amended Damages Analysis was implicitly
held in abeyance.
the reopening of the case on November 13, 2014 (see
Dkts. ##164-66), on February 12, 2015, this Court ruled on
plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the July 2014
Ruling, and Motion for Leave to Amend her complaint. Ruling
on Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and on
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (Dkt.
#180) ["February 2015 Ruling"], 2015 WL 630957 (D.
Conn. Feb. 12, 2015). In her Motion for Reconsideration,
plaintiff sought reconsideration of this Court's holding,
precluding evidence as to plaintiff's claim of
constructive discharge and her claim for future damages; in
her Motion for Leave to Amend her complaint, plaintiff sought
to add a claim for emotional distress damages. (See
Dkts. ##169, 177). The February 2015 Ruling denied both of
plaintiff's motions; the underlying briefing and the
February 2015 Ruling had no effect on the Court's
previous sanction order in the July 2014 Ruling which was
directed towards plaintiff's failure to submit a
substantiated damages analysis for her claim for compensatory
damages. Thereafter, plaintiff submitted her Amended Damages
Analysis on March 3, 2015. (See Dkt. #279, at 2).
PENDING MOTION FOR ...