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Ball-Rice v. Board of Education of Prince George's County

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

October 4, 2013

Ball-Rice
v.
Board of Education of Prince George's County

CHARLES B. DAY Magistrate Judge.

Dear Counsel and Ms. Ball-Rice:

The Court has received and reviewed the Motion for Fees and Costs filed by Defendant Board of Education of Prince George's County (the "Motion for Fees") (ECF No. 60), which seeks reimbursement for attorneys' fees and costs associated with both its Motion Regarding the Sufficiency of Plaintiff's Responses to Defendant's Requests for Admission (the "Motion for Admissions") (ECF No. 51) and its Motion for Sanctions (ECF No. 52). No hearing is deemed necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.). For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS the Motion for Fees and awards Defendant $8, 169.13.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 13, 2013, Defendant filed both its Motion for Admissions and its Motion for Sanctions. See generally Mot. Admis. 1, Mot. Sanctions 1-2. The factual allegations set forth therein may be found in this Court's Memorandum Opinion (ECF No. 58).

Defendant's Motion for Admissions requested that the Court admit particular requests for admissions, to which Plaintiff did not properly responded. Mem. Op. 5-8. The Court granted the Motion for Admissions and awarded Defendant reasonable expenses and attorneys' fees incurred in bringing the motion. Id. at 14. Furthermore, the Court emphasized that

The expenses and fees ordered by the Court are to be paid by Plaintiff's attorney, not by Plaintiff herself.... It is Plaintiff's attorney who is knowledgeable about the discovery process and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and whose duty it
was to ensure that the responses complied with Rule 36. Since Plaintiff's attorney failed to do so, the Court orders that he pay Defendant's expenses and fees.

Id. at 9-10.

Defendant's Motion for Sanctions sought to preclude responsive documents from trial that Plaintiff did not timely produce during discovery. Id. at 10. The Court also granted this motion and awarded Defendant reasonable expenses and attorneys' fees incurred in obtaining the documents. Id. at 14. The Court stated that

As there is no record evidence as to whether Plaintiff or her attorney was responsible for the failure to provide documents, the Court expresses no opinion on the source of payment of the sanctions. Defendant's counsel must file a separate motion for fees and costs supported by an affidavit and any other documentation. Plaintiff's attorney will then have an opportunity to file an opposition.

Id. Defendant filed its Motion for Fees on June 14, 2013, seeking reimbursement of $3, 991.52 for its Motion for Admissions and $7, 384.91 for its Motion for Sanctions. Mot. Fees 1. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the Motion for Fees.

On July 1, 2013, the Honorable Peter J. Messitte held a motions hearing, granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ...


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