United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
TERRY C. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
ABDI TINWALLA, Defendant.
OPINION AND TICE TO SHOW
SCHANZLE-HASKINS, U.S. Magistrate Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Abdi
Tinwalla's Motion to Cancel Settlement Conference (d/e
115) (Motion). The District Court referred this matter to
this Court for a settlement conference. Text Order
entered June 1, 2017. This Court ordered the parties to
participate in a settlement conference on September 7, 2017.
In preparation for that settlement conference, this Court
directed the parties to submit statements “describing
prior negotiations, including demands, offers, and
counteroffers that have been made and rejected and identify
any particular circumstances which may have impeded
settlement efforts.” This Court directed that the
statements “should not be filed with the Court or
submitted to opposing counsel but submitted directly to Judge
Schanzle-Haskins on or before the close of business on August
31, 2017.” Text Order entered July 3, 2017.
Tinwalla did not submit the required statement to this Court
on August 31, 2017. Instead, counsel for Tinwalla sent an
email on August 31, 2017 at 1:40 p.m. to the Court's law
clerk and opposing counsel stating that he was going to file
a motion to cancel the hearing. The law firm representing
Tinwalla recently reassigned his representation to a
different attorney. The new attorney stated in the email that
“having conferred with my client and now being up to
speed on the file since recently taking it over, I'm
going to be moving to cancel this conference currently set
for September 7 at 9:30. I apologize for the late notice.
Thanks.” A copy of the email is attached.
motion to cancel was filed on August 31, 2017. At the close
of business at 4:59 p.m. on August 31, 2017, counsel for
Plaintiff Terry Johnson submitted his confidential statement
as required by this Court's July 3 Text Order.
September 1, 2017, the day after confidential statements were
due, Tinwalla filed this Motion. The Motion states
“Defendant does not wish to participate in settlement
discussions and has no authority to do so.”
Motion, ¶ 2. The Motion further states that
Tinwalla's counsel “regrets the timing of this
request for cancellation being a week prior to the
conference.” Id. ¶ 3.
filed a timely response to the Motion. Johnson stated that
his pro bono counsel had already purchased discounted
non-refundable airfare to fly to Springfield, Illinois, and
discounted non-refundable hotel reservations for two persons
to attend the conference. The airfare and hotel reservations
totaled $801.83. Johnson stated that he was ready to attend
the conference and settle the case on appropriate terms.
Johnson requested that if the Court granted the Motion that
the Court also order Tinwalla to pay Johnson's counsel
the $801.83 for the airfare and hotel reservations.
Response to Motion to Cancel Settlement Conference (d/e
117) (Response), ¶¶ 1-4.
careful review of the Motion and the Response, the Court
allows the Motion. Tinwalla is not interested in settlement
and lacks authority to settle. A conference would be futile
under these circumstances.
Court, however, orders Tinwalla and his counsel to show cause
why either or both of them should not be ordered to pay
Johnson's counsel the cost of the non-refundable airfare
and hotel in the sum of $801.83, and the attorney fees
incurred to prepare the Johnson's confidential settlement
statement and responding to the Motion.
email notice was inadequate and inappropriate under the
circumstances. Tinwalla's counsel sent the notice at 1:40
p.m. central daylight time on August 31, 2017, the day the
confidential statements were due. Three months earlier, on
June 1, 2017, Tinwalla and his counsel knew that the District
Court referred the matter for settlement conference. Almost
two months earlier, on July 3, 2017, the Court ordered
Tinwalla to participate in the settlement conference on
September 7, 2017. Waiting to send the notice until the
afternoon of the due date for the required confidential
settlement statements was just too late.
inadequate and inappropriate notice imposed significant costs
on Johnson's pro bono counsel. Johnson's counsel is
located in New York. His counsel, therefore, received the
notice at 3:40 pm eastern daylight time on the day that
confidential settlement statements were due, and just a week
before the scheduled conference. By 3:40 p.m. on August 31,
2017, Johnson's counsel had paid for non-refundable
discounted airfare and hotel reservations and had surely
spent considerable time preparing the confidential statement
that was due that day.
Tinwalla's counsel neither filed the promised motion on
August 31, nor submitted the confidential settlement
statement when due.With no promised motion on file,
Johnson's counsel properly submitted the statement to
this Court at the close of business on August 31.
and his counsel should be required to show cause why either
or both of them should not be required to pay Johnson's
counsel both the $801.83 in non-refundable airfare and hotel
reservations, and the attorney fees incurred to prepare the
confidential settlement statement submitted to this Court
pursuant to the July 3, 2017 Text Order and to respond to the
Motion. Tinwalla and his counsel should make this showing to
the District Court because the District Court has the
inherent authority to require parties to pay such costs after
notice and opportunity to be heard. See United States v.
1948 South Martin Luther King Dr., 270 F.3d 1102,
1115-1116 (7th Cir. 2001); cf. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636 (limited authority of the U.S. Magistrate Judge).
Motion to Cancel Settlement Conference (d/e 115) is ALLOWED.
The settlement conference set for September 7, 2017 is
CANCELED. Plaintiff Terry Johnson's counsel is directed
to file by September 26, 2017, documentation establishing the
$801.83 in non- refundable airfare and hotel reservations
incurred to attend the now canceled settlement conference,
and the attorney fees incurred in preparing the confidential
settlement statement filed with the Court pursuant to the
July 3, 2017 Text Order and the attorney fees incurred to
respond to the Motion. Defendant Abdi Tinwalla and his
counsel are directed to show cause in writing ...