United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
TERESA M. BECK, Plaintiff,
AMERICAN HONDA FINANCE CORPORATION d/b/a HONDA FINANCIAL SERVICES, Defendant.
TOM SCHANZLE-HASKINS, Magistrate Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Settlement Conference (d/e 44) (Settlement Motion), and Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions (d/e 45) (Sanctions Motion). The parties consented to having the matter heard before this Court. Order entered May 29, 2014 (d/e 43). The Settlement Motion is ALLOWED. Defendant American Honda Finance Corporation d/b/a/Honda Financial Services (Honda) has no objection to the Settlement Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Sanctions Motion is DENIED.
Plaintiff Teresa M. Beck brought this action against Honda for making alleged illegal telephone calls to her cellular telephone in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (TCPA). Amended Complaint (d/e 16). Beck filed the action on May 9, 2012. Beck was represented by counsel when she filed this case. Beck's attorney was registered with this Court's electronic filing system (CM/ECF or PACER) and received filings electronically.
Beck filed bankruptcy during the pendency of this case. On May 22, 2013, Beck's counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel (d/e 23). The Court allowed the withdrawal on the next day. Text Order entered May 23, 2013. On June 4, 2013, the Bankruptcy Court dismissed Beck's bankruptcy, leaving Beck to proceed pro se in this matter. Letter from Bankruptcy Trustee dated June 5, 2013. Beck was given extensions of time to find new counsel, but was unsuccessful. See Text Order entered June 24, 2013; Text Orders entered August 2, 2013.
On September 4, 2013, this Court directed Beck and counsel for Honda "to meet and confer and tender proposed supplemental deadlines to move this litigation forward." Text Order entered September 4, 2013 (Cudmore, M.J.).
On September 11, 2013, Beck sent an email to counsel for Honda. The body of the email stated:
I will be representing myself in the American Honda Finance case. We will need to move forward and provide the judge with dates prior to 9/23/13. Because your client continues to refuse settlement discussions I will follow through with the deposition as previously scheduled. Please give me your first available date for the deposition. The names and positions of everyone included in the deposition will remain as it was prior to the disruption of this case; that is, as my prior attorney had scheduled it. Please send me the names and positions of everyone from Honda so I can confirm their attendance. It is my understanding that your client does not deny using automatic dialing devices; please confirm that with me so we can continue with the deposition.
Sanctions Motion, Attachment A, Email from Beck to Bruce Terlep, dated September 11, 2013.
On September 23, 2013, Honda filed Defendant's Report Regarding Rule 26(f) Conference with Plaintiff (d/e 31) (Discovery Plan). The Discovery Plan contained no certificate of service. Counsel for Honda later stated that he presumed the Discovery Plan was served on Beck by the CM/ECF system. Transcript of Proceedings on May 29, 2014 (d/e 49) (Transcript), at 20.
Counsel for Honda violated two Local Rules by not serving Beck and by not including a certificate of service. The Local Rules require a certificate of service on all filings and do not allow pro se parties to receive filings by the electronic CM/ECF system without first securing leave of court. Local Rule 5.3(C) and 5.5(B)(1).
On the same day, September 23, 2013, Beck filed a Motion to Extend (d/e 32). Beck asked for a sixty-day extension of time due to family illness. Beck stated that she would consent to being deposed and wanted to depose two Honda representatives under Rule 30(b)(6).
On September 24, 2013, Magistrate Judge Cudmore entered the following Text Order:
TEXT ORDER by Magistrate Judge Byron Cudmore: Pro se Plaintiff directed to review Defendant's Report Regarding Rule 26(f) Conference 31 and submit pro se Plaintiff's proposed dates by 10/4/2013. If Plaintiff fails to respond, Defendant's dates ...