United States District Court, D. Maryland
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Mark Coulson United States Magistrate Judge.
Russell Sutton, Elizabeth Carollo, and Michael Johnson
originally brought suit against Defendants Federal Debt
Assistance Association, LLC (“FDAA”), Vincent
Piccione, David Piccione, and Robert Pantoulis,
(collectively, “Defendants”), for breach of
contract and alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards
Act (“FLSA”) and Maryland Wage Payment and
Collection Law (“MWPCL”). This case was referred
to me for all proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636 and
Local Rules 301 and 302 by Judge Richard D. Bennett. (ECF No.
28). Plaintiff Sutton and Defendant FDAA are the only parties
that have filed their respective consents to my jurisdiction.
(ECF Nos. 32 & 50). The consents from Defendants Vincent
Piccione, David Piccione, and Robert Pantoulis remain
Sutton previously filed his Motion to Enforce Settlement
Agreement, (ECF No. 62), a dispositive motion. Given that not
all parties had consented to my jurisdiction, Judge Bennett
asked that I address the disposition of that Motion in the
form of a Report and Recommendation. I recommended that Judge
Bennett grant Plaintiff's Motion, (ECF No. 65), and Judge
Bennett adopted that recommendation in full by his Order
entered May 23, 2018, (ECF No. 69).
pending before this Court is Plaintiff Sutton's Motion
for Judgment and for Contempt, (ECF No. 72), and Motion for
Sanctions, (ECF No. 73). Defendants have not filed any
responses, and the deadline has now passed. See Loc.
R. 105.2(a) (D. Md. 2016). Judge Bennett has again asked that
I address the disposition of the Motions in form of a Report
and Recommendation. For the reasons that follow, I
respectfully recommend that the Court GRANT IN PART and DENY
IN PART Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment and for Contempt
and GRANT IN PART and DENY IN PART Plaintiff's Motion for
January 16, 2018, a settlement conference was held in this
case before Judge Beth P. Gesner. Plaintiff Sutton and
Defendant David Piccione, on behalf of himself and FDAA,
attended the conference. Although Defendants Vincent Piccione
and Robert Pantoulis did not personally attend, Nathanial K.
Risch, Esq. attended on their behalf. Plaintiff and Defendants
reached and ultimately signed a settlement agreement drafted
by Judge Gesner at the conference. Part of the settlement
agreement required Defendants to pay the settlement amount of
$10, 000 into their counsel's IOLTA account within ten
days of the settlement conference. Defendants have, thus far,
failed to provide the settlement amount to their counsel for
placement in the IOLTA account. On February 20, 2018, the
Court entered an Order scheduling a second settlement
conference and requiring that Defendants attend. (ECF No.
51). The second settlement conference was held on February
26, 2018. At the conference, Defendants claimed they did not
have the requisite funds to pay the settlement amount to
which the parties agreed.
March 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Motion to Enforce
Settlement Agreement. (ECF Nos. 62, 63). Defendants did not
file any response to the Motion. On May 23, 2018, the Court
entered an Order granting Plaintiff's Motion and
directing Defendants to make payment of the settlement amount
to the Court within thirty (30) days of the Court's
Order. (ECF No. 69). Notwithstanding that Order, no payment
has been made to date. On July 16, 2018, Plaintiff Sutton
filed his Motion for Judgment and for Contempt and Motion for
Sanctions. (ECF Nos. 72, 73). Defendants have again failed to
respond in any fashion to Plaintiff's Motions.
first filed his Motion for Judgment and for Contempt. (ECF
No. 72). “Civil contempt is an appropriate sanction if
we can point to an order of this Court which ‘set[s]
forth in specific detail an unequivocal command' which a
party has violated.” In re General Motors
Corp., 61 F.3d 256, 258 (4th Cir. 1995). To establish
civil contempt, the following elements must be shown by clear
and convincing evidence:
(1) The existence of a valid decree of which the alleged
contemnor had actual or constructive knowledge;
(2) The decree was in the movant's favor;
(3) The alleged contemnor violated the terms of the decree,
by its conduct, and had knowledge ...