United States District Court, D. Connecticut
DANIEL F. KELLEHER AUCTIONS, LLC
RULING ON MOTION FOR SANCTIONS
M. Spector, United States Magistrate Judge
familiarity with the proceedings in this action is presumed
(see Doc Nos 11, 16-20, 22-26), a recitation of the
procedural history follows.
9, 2016, the plaintiff, Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, LLC,
filed a complaint against the defendant, Eugene Huh,
alleging, inter alia, breach of contract, fraud and
violations of New York General Business Law § 349. (Doc.
No. 1). On October 5, 2016, the Court entered a default
against the defendant under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). (Doc. No. 9).
October 28, 2016, the plaintiff moved for entry of default
judgment against the defendant under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b), and,
on April 18, 2017, the Court granted this motion in a
separate order. (Doc. No. 11). The order entered a judgment
by default in the amount of $203, 575.10 in favor of the
November 15, 2017, the plaintiff moved to compel the
defendant to appear for a post-judgment deposition and to
produce certain documents. The Court granted the motion on
January 2, 2018 by electronic order, after no brief in
opposition was filed. (Doc. No. 16).
April 3, 2018, the plaintiff filed a Motion for an Order to
Show Cause and for sanctions against the defendant for
failure to pay the judgment and failure to comply with the
Court's January 2, 2018 order. (Doc. No. 17). On May 22,
2018, the Motion was referred to this Magistrate Judge. (Doc.
No. 19). In the Motion, the plaintiff requested that the
defendant be found in civil contempt, and ordered both to pay
a fine of $1, 000 for every day that the defendant failed to
comply with the order compelling his attendance, and to
reimburse the plaintiff for costs and fees for
“maintaining this proceeding.” (Doc. No. 17 at
1-2). Additionally, in its brief in support of its Motion,
the plaintiff stated that counsel for plaintiff notified the
defendant of the Court's January 2, 2018 order via
electronic mail, but was unable to serve him with the notice
and the subpoena for the deposition. (Doc. No. 18 at 1-2).
23, 2018, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause in which
the defendant was ordered to “file and serve any
written response to the plaintiff's motion for an order
to show cause on or before June 11, 2018[, ]” (Doc. No.
20 at 2)(emphasis omitted), and ordered the defendant to
appear before the United States District Court, Courtroom 5,
141 Church Street, New Haven, Connecticut on June 18, 2018 at
2:00 p.m. to show cause why he should not be adjudged in
civil contempt of this Court and why the sanctions sought by
the plaintiff should not be granted.
(Doc. No. 20 at 2) (emphasis omitted).
13, 2018, the plaintiff filed an affidavit of service of the
Order to Show Cause which detailed five attempts made to
effectuate in hand service on the defendant at his address:
26 Leigh Street, Williston Park, NY 11596. (Doc. No. 22). A
copy of the Order was also mailed to the defendant at this
address. (Doc. No. 22). On the same day, the plaintiff filed
a second affidavit indicating that service was made upon
Yuvarka Huh, the defendant's wife at the same Leigh
Street address. (Doc. No. 23).
defendant failed to file a response to the plaintiff's
motion, and failed to appear at the show cause hearing before
this Court on June 18, 2018. (Doc. No. 24). At the hearing,
counsel for the plaintiff represented that he had an email
address for the defendant, linked to the defendant's Ebay
account from which the defendant sold stamps. In addition to
his various attempts at service detailed above,
plaintiff's counsel emailed the defendant a copy of the
Court's Order on May 24, 2018.
hearing, the plaintiff reiterated its request for the
issuance of a civil arrest warrant so that the plaintiff can
“figure out” the defendant's assets, which
could include money made from selling stamps on Ebay.
Additionally, the plaintiff reiterated its request for
sanctions for the fees and costs of the original deposition,
the filing of the Motion to Compel, the filing of the Motion
for Order to Show Cause, and the fees and costs incurred in
connection with the hearing. The plaintiff also requested
that additional sanctions be imposed upon the defendant, up
to $1, 000 a day for non-compliance.
accordance with the Court's direction at the hearing, on
June 25, 2018, the plaintiff filed another Motion for
Sanctions (Doc. No. 25), along with an affidavit of counsel
(Doc. No. 25-1), and time sheet substantiating the
attorney's fees and costs incurred (Doc. No. 25-1, Ex.
1). In particular, the plaintiff moved pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2) for attorney's fees and costs
totaling $9, 850.20. (Doc. No. 25). Additionally, the
plaintiff repeated its request for additional sanctions of up
to $1, 000 per day from January 12, 2018, the date of the
Court's Order granting the plaintiff's Motion to
Compel (Doc. No. 16), and requested that this Court issue an
order adjudging the defendant in civil contempt of this
Court's Order and issue a Form AO442. (Doc. No. 25 at 1).
10, 2018, the Court granted, in part, the plaintiff's
Motion for Sanctions (Doc. No. 25) in that it awarded
attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $9, 850.20,
but did not issue a civil arrest warrant or an order of civil
contempt. (Doc. No. 26 at 4). The Court also ordered the
defendant to appear at his deposition no later than August
15, 2018. (Doc. No. 26 at 4). In this order, the Court warned
the defendant that, if he failed to comply with this
Court's order to attend his deposition, the Court
“may, and likely will, impose further sanctions,