United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Peter Denton and Harvest Investors, L.P. have filed a Motion
to Award Fees for Compliance with Discovery and Contempt
Orders [Dkt. No. 190], which has been referred to the
undersigned United States magistrate judge for determination
under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). See Dkt. No. 46.
parties met and conferred on this motion and continue to
disagree. At the Court's direction, see Dkt. No.
199, Defendant Rudolf Suter filed his response, Dkt. No. 203,
and Plaintiffs filed their reply, Dkt. Nos. 204. Although
Plaintiffs have requested a hearing on this motion, the Court
finds that there is no need for one.
reasons and to the extent explained below, the Court DENIES
without prejudice Plaintiffs Peter Denton and Harvest
Investor L.P.'s Motion to Award Fees for Compliance with
Discovery and Contempt Orders [Dkt. No. 190].
each obtained judgments against Mr. Suter for over $1, 000,
subsequently served Mr. Suter post-judgment discovery
requests as part of their attempt to collect on their
Suter did not fully respond to Plaintiffs' discovery
requests, even after the Court ordered him to do so.
See Dkt. No. 173 (citing this failure to hold Mr.
Suter in contempt). He, instead, left the country.
States District Judge David C. Godbey entered an order
finding Mr. Suter to be “in civil contempt of this
Court.” Id. at 6. He specifically ordered that
“Defendant shall be coercively incarcerated
until” certain conditions are met. See Id. at
6-7 (listing the conditions that must be met).
Suter returned to the United States several months later and
was arrested based on Judge Godbey's Order of Civil
Contempt and Coercive Incarceration [Dkt. No. 173] (the
“Contempt Order”) and the corresponding warrant
for his arrest. See Dkt. Nos. 174 & 175 at 1-2.
He also now faces criminal charges in a separate proceeding
pending in this court as Case No. 3:17-cr-46-N (N.D. Tex.).
their Motion to Award Fees for Compliance with Discovery and
Contempt Order, Plaintiffs seek attorneys' fees for the
time that they have spent on this case since Mr. Suter's
arrest in December 12, 2016. They specifically ask for fees
for the “approximately 75 hours” they have spent
trying to “enforc[e] the Orders compelling [Mr.] Suter
to obey the discovery rules, the discovery process and the
Order of Contempt.” Dkt. No. 190 at 2.
counsel spent at least part of the 75 hours at issue
preparing four motions that would be filed before this Court:
Plaintiffs' Motion to Enforce Attorneys' Fees Award
[Dkt. No. 182], Motion for Ongoing Discovery [Dkt. No. 184],
Motion to Compel Enforcement of Turnover Order in Aid of
Satisfaction of Judgments [Dkt. No. 187], and this Motion for
Attorney Fees for Compliance with Discovery [Dkt. No. 190].
The undersigned denied two of these motions, see
Dkt. Nos. 206 & 207, and recommended that Judge Godbey
deny another, see Dkt. No. 205.
counsel also appear to have spent part of the 75 hours at
issue on other activities. See Dkt. No. 190 at 2
(Plaintiffs describing the “approximately 75 hours of
attorney and legal assist time” at issue as time spent
“investigating the situation, responding to lawyers in
New York, preparing court ordered responses, filing motions,
conducting legal research, reviewing [Mr. Suter's]
testimony[, ] and preparing a logical way for [Mr.] Suter to
cure his discovery violations and comply with his ongoing
contend that “there are multiple bases for this
Honorable Court to order [Mr.] Suter to pay for the fees
[they] ha[ve] incurred as a result of [Mr.] Suter's
non-compliance with the Orders of this Honorable
Court.” Id. According to Plaintiffs, these