United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jeffrey Cole, Magistrate Judge
Mark Krantz and William Dunne have noticed a “Motion
for Body Attachment” for hearing before me on February
21, 2018. It's a terse, dozen-sentence motion, citing no
case law, or even any docket entries. The federal courts in
this country are unanimous in holding that
"“perfunctory and undeveloped arguments, and
arguments that are unsupported by pertinent authority, are
waived.'” Massuda v. Panda Exp., Inc., 759
F.3d 779, 783-784 (7th Cir. 2014). See also Price v.
Board of Educ. of City of Chicago, 755 F.3d 605, 608
(7th Cir. 2014). The Seventh Circuit has also advised
attorneys that “[a]n advocate's job is to make it
easy for the court to rule in his client's favor; at a
minimum, this means stating the legal grounds for a
motion.” Dal Pozzo v. Basic Mach. Co., 463
F.3d 609, 613 (7th Cir. 2006). Unfortunately, the plaintiffs
here have given me very little to go on, up to and including
whether I have authority to issue a body attachment. As
filed, I cannot grant the plaintiffs' motion. Review of
the history of this matter does nothing to change that.
Shadur entered default judgment in this case in the
plaintiffs' favor and against the defendants jointly and
severally well over two years ago on November 23, 2015. [Dkt.
to the plaintiffs' motion, the plaintiffs issued a
citation to discover assets on one of those defendants, John
Jansen on January 21, 2016, but were unable to serve him.
[Dkt. # 99, ¶1]. The plaintiffs do not say why or what
happened. But six months went by before they filed a motion
asking Judge Shadur to allow them to “serve the summons
and complaint upon Jansen by leaving a copy at his home by
posting and or serving somebody who answers the door and by
mailing to Jansen at his last known address.” [Dkt, #
99, ¶ 3; Dkt. #68]. Judge Shadur granted that motion the
day it was presented on July 5, 2016. [Dkt. #70].
with that order from Judge Shadur, the plaintiffs did nothing
for several more months. [Dkt. #99, ¶ 4]. In fact, the
next thing to happen was that the defendants, including Mr.
Jansen, filed a motion to vacate the default judgment against
them under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60 on October 26, 2016. [Dkt. #71].
Judge Shadur, for reasons stated in open court, denied that
motion on November 4, 2016. [Dkt. #73]. Defendants filed a
notice of appeal of that ruling on December 2, 2016.
January 19, 2017, the plaintiffs finally issued another
citation to discover assets as to Mr. Jansen. [Dkt. #83].
Thereafter, on March 3, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion
for a rule to show cause. [Dkt. # 84]. The motion informed
Judge Shadur that, pursuant to his July 5, 2016 order, they
served Mr. Jansen via posting, setting up the citation exam
for February 2, 2017. Mr. Jansen called plaintiffs'
counsel to say he could not make that date but that he would
call back to reschedule, but he had not done so. Judge Shadur
granted this motion on the day it was presented and
instructed plaintiffs' counsel to submit a written order
for his signature. [Dkt. # 86]. Judge Shadur signed that
order, which required Mr. Jansen to appear in court on April
20, 2017, to show cause why he should not be held in civil
contempt, on April 10th. [Dkt. #88].
Jansen failed to appear on April 20th and, in the
minute order reporting the failure, Judge Shadur directed
plaintiffs' counsel to submit a written contempt order
for his signature. [Dkt. #89].
next activity on this case occurred on October 2, 2017, when
Judge Shadur referred the matter to me for all post-judgment
proceedings. [Dkt. #93]. The Seventh Circuit then ruled in
the plaintiffs' favor on the defendants' appeal of
the denial of their motion to vacate the default judgment.
[Dkt. #98]. That finally brings things to the plaintiffs'
pending motion, the “Motion for Body Attachment.”
As indicated in the opening paragraph, the motion cannot be
granted. Beyond the deficiencies already noted, and more
important, there is no order finding Mr. Jansen in contempt.
Judge Shadur required plaintiffs to submit a proper contempt
order for his signature, and they apparently never did. Or at
least one was not signed and filed. The present motion does
not say that a contempt order was signed; only that,
“[u]pon information and belief Plaintiff did
so....” It concedes the order was never entered.”
[Dkt. # 99, ¶ 8]. But it is unlikely that had the order
been submitted to judge Shadur he would not have acted
Shadur, sadly, passed away on January 14, 2018. But he was
actively handling his docket into late September of 2017
before he had to step away. It is no slight to any of the
diligent judges currently on the bench to say that none are
more diligent in managing a docket and attending to business
than was Judge Shadur. For example, note the prompt rulings
upon motions in this case. So as between Judge Shadur and his
staff misplacing or neglecting a draft contempt order, and
plaintiffs' counsel - who, it must be pointed out have
demonstrated a tendency toward inactivity evidenced by more
than one multiple month gaps in the docket - neglecting to
submit the order, the latter is far more likely.
even assuming plaintiffs' counsel did submit a draft
order, and it somehow escaped Judge Shadur's attention,
why is it only now - ten months after Judge Shadur's
April 20, 2017 minute order - that anyone is hearing of it?
If plaintiffs' counsel had submitted a draft order, and
it languished unattended to for as long as they claim, surely
they would have alerted Judge Shadur if not by motion then by
phone call. But there is no record of either.
really doesn't matter one way or the other, because
without a signed order finding Mr. Jansen in contempt, I have
no authority to grant the motion and issue an arrest warrant
for Mr. Jansen. Without such an order, I have no idea what
sanction for civil contempt Judge Shadur may have had in
mind; there is a whole spectrum of sanctions available before
the meter gets to arrest. See, e.g., Lightspeed
Media Corp. v. Smith, 830 F.3d 500, 508 (7th Cir. 2016);
S.E.C. v. First Choice Mgmt. Servs., Inc., 678 F.3d
538, 545 (7th Cir. 2012). Plaintiffs have attached a draft
contempt order for my signature to their motion, but I have
no authority to find Mr. Jansen in contempt for something he
failed to do before Judge Shadur ten months ago. See
28 U.S.C. §636(e)(6). Accordingly, for all the foregoing
reason, the motion [Dkt. #99] is denied without prejudice,
and the hearing date of February 22, 2018 is stricken.
plaintiffs are free to file an appropriately supported motion
which is supported by case law and statute and which
demonstrates the extent of my authority to do what is being
asked and deals under state law with the adequacy of service.
the notice of motion and certificate of service [Dkt. #99,
page 1] state that Mr. Kevin E. Bry in Oak Park, Illinois was
served “via the ECF filing system on February 13, 2018,
on or before the hour of 6:00 p.m.” But Mr. Bry, who
did apparently appear at a hearing on November 4, 2016, [Dkt.
#78] is not shown as counsel or otherwise on the court's
electronic docket. In other words, Mr. Bry never filed an
appearance and it would certainly seem that the
representation that he ...