Judge Slams Defense Counsel Again for Dilatory Tactics in ADA Public Accommodations Case
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an order in Lema v. Comfort Inn, Merced and Lema v. Courtyard Marriott, Merced. In these cases, both pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Magistrate Judge Sandra Snyder issued an order on June 20 harshly criticizing defense counsel for filing dilatory and frivolous motions. She threatened Rule 11 sanctions if defense counsel did it again. Last Thursday, she issued a new round of orders. On July 2, the defendants moved to dismiss for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. Three days later, Judge Snyder denied the motions, finding them meritless and frivolous. As a consequence, she issued an order directing the filing of an answer by July 13 and any dispositive motions by August 2. And she prohibited the defendants from filing any further motions before those deadlines, without first obtaining leave from the court:
The Court surmises that Defendants brought this action in the absence of good faith, seeking to further the delay resolution of this matter despite their representations in the summer of 2011 that permitting them to retain their current attorney would not result in further delay. The Court has repeatedly noted Defendants' lack of good faith as they and their attorneys have sought to exploit rules of procedure as a means of postponing just resolution of Plaintiff's claims while imposing unnecessary burdens on this overburdened Court. The test for maliciousness is subjective, requiring the Court to “determine the ... good faith of the applicant.” Kinney v. Plymouth Rock Squab Co., 236 U.S. 43, 46, 35 S.Ct. 236, 59 L.Ed. 457 (1915).
The impropriety of this motion would have been readily apparent to Defendants and their attorney had they performed the most perfunctory examination of applicable law. This Court has repeatedly warned Defendants and their attorney regarding their employment of sharp legal tactics intended solely to harass Plaintiff and delay resolution of this matter. No further delay will be tolerated. Accordingly, the Court will strike any motion brought by Plaintiff without leave of Court prior to their filing of an answer and any dispositive motion(s).