United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
R.P.M. FUEL, LLC, Plaintiff,
PBR SALES, LLC, et al, Defendants.
CIVIL CONTEMPT ORDER
GONZALES RAMOS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 15, 2019, this Court issued its “Order on
Plaintiffs R.P.M. Fuel, L.L.C. and Texas Global Fuel
Network's Motion to Compel Discovery Responses”
(D.E. 29). That Order compelled Defendants to file answers
and responses to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories
and Requests for Production on or before April 29, 2019, and
further ordered Defendants to pay Plaintiffs $1, 000 as
expenses, including attorney fees, as a sanction. On April
17, 2019, both attorneys for Defendants initiated proceedings
to withdraw from the case. D.E. 30, 31, 33, 34. Among the
reasons cited for their withdrawal was Defendants'
failure to cooperate with the timely preparation of discovery
14, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Sanctions (D.E.
36), reciting that Defendants had neither tendered their
discovery responses by April 29, 2019, nor paid the $1, 000
sanctions. As a result, on May 17, 2019, this Court issued
its Show Cause Order (D.E. 37). The Court found cause to
believe that Defendants had failed to cooperate with the
discovery process and comply with the Court's Order (D.E.
29). The Show Cause Order provided Defendants with notice and
an opportunity to be heard on the issue of contempt
sanctions. Specifically, the Court ordered Defendants to
appear in person on May 29, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.
21, 2019, the Court granted the motions of attorneys for
Defendants, Todd F. Newman and Marcellous S. McZeal, to
withdraw. D.E. 38. In the same Order, the Court gave notice
to Defendant PBR that, as a business entity, it was required
to appear by an attorney licensed to practice law in this
Court. The Court imposed a deadline of May 29, 2019, at 10:00
a.m. for PBR to obtain counsel to enter an appearance on its
behalf in this case.
28, 2019-on the eve of the show cause hearing-Defendants
filed a letter (D.E. 39), which professed previous and
continuing compliance with discovery and a promise to wire
transfer the $1, 000 sanction previously ordered, together
with another $1, 000 requested in Plaintiffs' motion
(D.E. 36), for a total of $2, 000 to Plaintiffs' counsel
by May 31, 2019. Defendants also requested additional time to
obtain counsel to represent PBR. In response, the Court
entered its Order (D.E. 40), requiring PBR to obtain counsel
to file a notice of appearance on its behalf by June 28,
2019, and continuing the show cause hearing date to July 30,
2019 at 9:00 a.m. D.E. 40.
did not pay any funds to Plaintiffs' counsel by May 31,
2019, or any time thereafter. PBR did not obtain counsel to
file a notice of appearance by June 28, 2019, and no attorney
has filed an appearance on behalf of PBR since previous
counsel withdrew. On June 4, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their
Motion to Enforce Response to Plaintiffs' Demand Letter
(D.E. 42). Defendants did not respond to that motion by its
submission date. Local Rule 7. Neither did Defendants appear
in person or by counsel for a status conference on July 24,
2019. See D.E. 20, 21.
29, 2019, again on the eve of the continued show cause
hearing, Defendants filed a letter (D.E. 43), asking to
appear at the show cause hearing by telephone. The Court
denied the request and, again, ordered Defendants to appear
in person for the show cause hearing. D.E. 46. On July 30,
2019, the Court called this case for the show cause hearing.
None of the Defendants made an appearance.
standard of clear and convincing evidence,
• The Court FINDS that Defendants failed to respond to
Plaintiffs' written discovery by April 29, 2019, as
previously ordered, or at any time thereafter. D.E. 29.
• The Court FINDS that Defendants failed to comply with
the Court's previous order to pay $1, 000 in sanctions.
• The Court FINDS that Defendants failed to pay an
additional $1, 000 as previously promised in their letter
filed of record on May 28, 2019, in response to
Plaintiffs' motion for sanctions. D.E. 36, 39.
• The Court FINDS that PBR, a business entity, has
failed to obtain counsel to appear on its behalf and is in
default with respect to the status conference of July 24,
2019, and the show cause hearing of July 30, 2019. D.E. 37,
38, 40, 46.
• The Court FINDS that Pratap Sapra and Reshma Sapra
have failed to appear and are in default with respect to the
status conference of July 24, 2019, and the show cause
hearing of July 30, 2019. D.E. 37, 40, 46.
• The Court FINDS that Defendants have failed to respond
to Plaintiffs' demand letter of April 18, 2019, within 30
days of its receipt or at any time ...