United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
A. Roberts, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Sanctions Against Plaintiff's Counsel, to Compel
Plaintiff's Deposition, and to Extend Deadlines. (Doc.
24.) Plaintiff timely filed a resistance. (Doc. 25.) For the
following reasons, Defendant's motion is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
an action alleging unlawful employment practices in violation
of Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. Discovery closed
on February 8, 2019. The dispositive motion deadline was
February 11, 2019. Trial will begin on July 15,
motion details the difficulties it has faced in attempting to
depose Plaintiff. These difficulties included lack of
communication by Plaintiff's counsel, last-minute changes
to the schedule, and overall lack of urgency in pursuing
discovery in accordance with the Court's trial setting
order. Ultimately, Defendant's counsel traveled to Iowa
twice unsuccessfully for the purpose of deposing Plaintiff.
Plaintiff's counsel seeks refuge in inclement weather,
health concerns, and other professional commitments in
January and February of 2019. I am not unsympathetic to any
of these reasons for postponing a deposition. However,
Plaintiff's response ignores the fact that the fall of
2018 was wasted largely due to his unresponsiveness and
failure to cooperate in scheduling. In October and November
of 2018, Plaintiff's counsel was first unresponsive and
then unwilling to commit to depositions because of other
matters, despite the impending close of discovery.
counsel traveled to Iowa on January 21, 2019 for
Plaintiff's deposition. On January 22, 2019,
Plaintiff's counsel cancelled the deposition just as it
was scheduled to commence. Defendant's counsel attempted
to schedule Plaintiff's deposition for January 24.
Plaintiff's counsel initially agreed to that date, but
then cancelled the next day. Defendant's counsel traveled
to Iowa again on January 28 to depose Plaintiff on January
30. Plaintiff's counsel unilaterally cancelled the
deposition on January 29. Plaintiff's counsel attributed
this cancellation to Plaintiff's difficulty in arranging
childcare for sick children and the cold weather. On January
29, Plaintiff's counsel was then unable or unwilling to
confirm a single day prior to the close of discovery when he
would make his client available for deposition that Defendant
could rely upon.
excuses offered by Plaintiff's counsel might justify a
last-minute cancellation. This record, however, shows two
expensive, aborted attempts to depose Plaintiff caused by her
counsel's last-minute, unilateral decisions and a
troubling unwillingness or inability to schedule a single
deposition during the discovery period. Plaintiff also
engages in some unavailing “whataboutery, ”
complaining about Defendant's discovery responses earlier
in the case. However, Plaintiff has not filed any motion
regarding Defendant's discovery replies and that issue is
not before the Court.
moves the Court for the following relief:
• Monetary sanctions against Plaintiff's counsel in
the amount of $10, 013.71;
• An order compelling Plaintiff's deposition within
two weeks of this order; • An order extending the
current discovery deadline for the purpose of taking
• An order prohibiting Plaintiff from deposing
• An order extending the dispositive motion deadline to
three weeks after Plaintiff's deposition; and
• An order continuing the final pretrial conference and
the “trial ready” deadlines.