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OGBORN v. LOCAL 881 UNITED FOOD & COMMERCIAL WORKERS

April 30, 2003

JERRY OGBORN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LOCAL 881 UNITED FOOD & COMMERCIAL WORKERS, AND STEVEN POWELL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arlander Keys, United States Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

This matter was referred to the Court on Local 881 United Food & Commercial Workers' ("Local 881") Petition for Rule to Show Cause (the "Petition"), requesting that Plaintiff Jerry Ogborn be held in contempt of court. For the reasons set forth below, this Court recommends that Local 881's Petition be granted and that Mr. Ogborn be held in civil contempt of court.

FACTS

I. Procedural History

On September 21, 2000, the district court granted Local 881's motion for summary judgment in an employment discrimination case filed by Mr. Ogborn against Local 881. See Ogborn v. United Food & Commerc. Workers, Local No. 881, 98 C 4623, 2000 WL 1409855 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 25, 2000). Subsequently, Local 881 submitted its bill of costs to the district court. See Ogborn v. United Food & Commerc. Workers, Local No. 881, 98 C 4623, 2000 WL 1810059 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 7, 2000). Mr. Ogborn objected to the bill of costs on the ground that it was untimely. Id. at *1. However, the district court found that Local 881's bill of costs was timely, and awarded it $4,371.01 in costs. Id. at *2.

Mr. Ogborn moved for reconsideration, a stay of execution of the judgment for costs, and modification of the amount of costs. On January 17, 2001, the district court denied his motions for reconsideration and stay of execution, but vacated the December 7, 2000 order and entered an amended judgment in favor of Local 881 and against Mr. Ogborn in the amount of $3,965.46. Ogborn v. United Food & Commerc. Workers, Local No. 881, No. 98 C 4623, Minute Order (N.D. Ill. Jan. 17, 2001).

Mr. Ogborn appealed the January 17, 2001 order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. On September 27, 2002, the Seventh Circuit upheld the Court's award of costs against Mr. Ogborn in the sum of $3,965.46. Ogborn v. United Food & Commerc. Workers, Local No. 881, 305 F.3d 763, 770 (7th Cir. 2002) ("Ogborn II"). On October 25, 2002, the Seventh Circuit denied Mr. Ogborn's petition for rehearing. Further, on November 4, 2002, the Seventh Circuit awarded an additional $256.20 in appellate costs to Local 881, bringing the total amount of costs that Mr. Ogborn owes to Local 881 to $4,221.66.

II. Local 881's Petition

On October 29, 2002, subsequent to the Seven Circuit's decision in Ogborn II, Local 881 sent a letter to Mr. Ogborn' s counsel, demanding payment of Local 881's costs. (Def. Mot. Rule to Show Cause, Ex. A.)*fn1 However, neither Mr. Ogborn nor his counsel responded to this letter. Local 881 sent a second letter to Mr. Ogborn on November 18, 2002, demanding payment of the judgment (id. at Ex. B), but Mr. Ogborn and his counsel ignored this letter as well.

Local 881 then filed this Petition, asking that Mr. Ogborn be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with Local 881's repeated requests for costs.*fn2 On January 31, 2003, this Court directed Mr. Ogborn to respond to the Petition by February 21, and scheduled a hearing for February 28. Ogborn v. United Food & Commerc. Workers, Local No. 881, 98 C 4623, Minute Order (N.D. Ill. Jan. 31, 2003). As of the date of this Report and Recommendation, Mr. Ogborn has not filed a response to Local 881's Petition.

III. Bearing on Local 881's Petition

Counsel for both parties appeared before the Court on February 28, 2003. Local 881 was represented by Jonathan D. Karmel, and Mr. Ogborn was represented by Lawrence V. Jackowiak. (Hr'g at 1.) Inexplicably, Mr. Ogborn did not appear at the hearing.

Mr. Karrnel stated that he had sent two letters to Mr. Jackowiak, requesting payment of the judgment. (Hr'g at 3.) However, neither Local 881 nor its counsel had received any response from Mr. Ogborn or Mr. Jackowiak regarding payment of the judgment. (Id.)

In response, Mr. Jackowiak disputed Local 881's claim and asserted that he had "multiple conversations with the attorney [Mindy Kallus] who ha[d] been handing the case." (Id. at 7.) Mr. Jackowiak testified that he had informed Ms. Kallus that Mr. Ogborn did not have the resources to pay the judgment. (Id. at 6.) According to Mr. Jackowiak, Mr. Ogborn is in his mid-fifties, ...


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