United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS [ECF
A. DOOLEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
November 1, 2019, Defendant Omni Hotels Management
Corporation (“Defendant”) moved for sanctions
against Plaintiff Mary Bratu (“Plaintiff”)
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(d)(1)(A) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
41(b) based upon Plaintiff's failure to
respond to Defendant's discovery requests and to comply
with this Court's October 11, 2019 Order (ECF No. 21)
granting Defendant's prior motion to compel the discovery
at issue. For the reasons that follow, the Defendant's
motion is GRANTED.
12, 2019, Defendant served discovery, both interrogatories
and document requests, on Plaintiff. (ECF No. 20-1).
Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's discovery
requests on or before August 11, 2019, the original deadline.
Id. Thereafter, Defendant offered Plaintiff multiple
opportunities to comply with her discovery obligations, but
Plaintiff still did not respond to Defendant's discovery
requests. Id. As a result, on September 16, 2019,
Defendant filed a motion to compel the discovery (ECF No.
20), which this Court granted on October 11, 2019. (ECF No.
21). In the October 11, 2019 Order, the Court ordered
Plaintiff to respond to the discovery at issue on or before
October 21, 2019. Id. As of November 1, 2019,
Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant's discovery
requests. (ECF No. 22-1). Due to Plaintiff's failure to
comply with the Court's October 11, 2019 Order, Defendant
moved for sanctions asking this Court to (1) order Plaintiff
to comply with her discovery obligations within fourteen days
of the Court's Order, (2) award Defendant reasonable
costs and attorneys' fees incurred as a result of
Plaintiff's non-compliance with her discovery
obligations, and (3) admonish Plaintiff that failure to
comply with the Court's Order may result in dismissal
with prejudice pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 37 and/or
Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b). Id.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A), “[i]f a party . . . fails to
obey an order to provide or permit discovery, including an
order under . . . 37(a), the court where the action is
pending may issue further just orders.” It is left
“to the district court to determine which sanction from
among the available range is appropriate.” Sieck v.
Russo, 869 F.2d 131, 134 (2d Cir. 1989).
Plaintiff failed to obey, and indeed, appears to have
completely ignored, the Court's October 11, 2019 Order to
respond to the discovery at issue by October 21, 2019 (ECF
No. 21) and Plaintiff had still not provided the discovery at
issue as of November 1, 2019. (ECF No. 22-1). These failures
are accompanied by Plaintiff's failure to respond to
either the motion to compel or the instant motion for
sanctions. Under the circumstances, sanctions as contemplated
under Rule 37(b) are appropriate.
addition, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(C), “the court
must order the disobedient party, the attorney advising that
party, or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including
attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the
failure was substantially justified or other circumstances
make an award of expenses unjust.” The Plaintiff's
failure to respond to the instant motion renders it
impossible for this Court to determine whether there is any,
let alone substantial, justification for the lack of
compliance with the Court's order or the Plaintiff's
discovery obligations. See Sterle v. Elizabeth Arden,
Inc., No. 3:06CV01584DJS, 2008 WL 961216, at *13 (D.
Conn. Apr. 9, 2008) (noting “Rule 37 places the burden
on the disobedient party to avoid expenses . . . by showing
that his failure is justified or that special circumstances
make an award of expenses unjust.”) (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted).
Court's October 11, 2019 Order, the Court stated,
“[i]f the Defendant still seeks an award of costs, it
must file an affidavit detailing the costs which it believes
it has reasonably incurred as a result of the Plaintiff's
non-compliance with her discovery obligations.” (ECF
No. 21). Defendant has now submitted an affidavit detailing
the expenses it incurred as a result of Plaintiff's
non-compliance and seeks an award of attorneys' fees and
costs in the amount of $1, 931.50. (Dill Aff., ECF No. 22-2).
Upon review of Defendant's affidavit, the Court finds it
reasonable to order Plaintiff to pay Defendant $1, 931.50.
See, e.g., Valentini v. Citicorp Fin. Servs. Corp.,
589 Fed.Appx. 1, 2 (2d Cir. 2014) (summary order) (upholding
district court's award of defendants' fees associated
with plaintiffs' “discovery delays”).
the Motion for Sanctions is GRANTED and the Court enters the
(1) The Plaintiff SHALL provide responses to the discovery at
issue on or before December 23, 2019.
(2) The Plaintiff SHALL, on or before January 13, 2020, pay
to the Defendant the sum of $1, 931.50 and shall file a
Notice of Payment with the Court on or before January 20,
Plaintiff is cautioned that failure to comply with this Order
may result in other and more severe sanctions, including
dismissal of the complaint with prejudice, upon further
motion by Defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
37(b)(2)(A)(v) (failing to obey an order to provide discovery
may result in the court “dismissing the action or
proceeding in whole or in part”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(b)
(“If the plaintiff fails to prosecute or to comply with
these rules or a court order, a defendant may move to dismiss
the action or any claim against it. Unless the dismissal
order states otherwise, a dismissal under this subdivision
(b) . . . operates as an adjudication on the merits.”).