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Brown v. City of Glendale

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 29, 2019

Antonio Brown, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Glendale, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DOMINIC W. LANZA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' application for attorneys' fees (Doc. 60), which both sets of Plaintiff's attorneys oppose (Docs. 61, 62). For the following reasons, the application will be granted in part and the Court will award $2, 041 in fees.

         BACKGROUND

         This case was initiated in April 2018. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff is represented by two law firms: (1) Fowler St. Clair, PLLC (“the Fowler Firm”) and (2) Wilenchik & Bartness PC (“the Wilenchik Firm”) (collectively, “Plaintiff's counsel”).

         As early as June 2018, Defendants began raising concerns about the sufficiency of Plaintiff's disclosures. (Doc. 44 at 5-6 [June 29, 2018 letter from Defendants to Plaintiff].)

         On October 26, 2018, Defendants filed a 15-page motion for judgment on the pleadings, seeking dismissal of all of Plaintiff's claims except Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim stemming from his May 9, 2017 acquittal. (Doc. 23 at 1.) On November 21, 2018, Plaintiff filed a 2-page response, stipulating to dismissal of all counts except Count 1 (42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim) and Count 3 (malicious prosecution), specifying that the claims were based on both the 2015 trial and the 2017 trial. (Doc. 30 at 1-2.)

         On January 9, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part the motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 34.) Based on the concessions and omissions in Plaintiff's response, the Court dismissed Counts 2, 4, and 5, dismissed Chief St. John as a party, and limited Plaintiff's theory in Count 1 to a malicious-prosecution theory. (Id. at 4.)

         On March 13, 2019, Defendants provided a detailed, single-spaced, 12-page letter to Plaintiff's counsel that identified an array of deficiencies in Plaintiff's disclosures and interrogatory responses. (Doc. 44 at 9-20.) The letter began by stating that Defendants had “been pursuing Plaintiff to provide the factual and legal bases of his claims since June 2018, after receipt of Plaintiff's underwhelming and insufficient [MIDP] responses. Over many months, [Defendants had] repeatedly attempted to elicit responses from lawyers representing Plaintiff regarding the lack of information that Plaintiff has provided to support his claims.” (Id. at 9-10.) The letter went on to note, among other things, that (1) Plaintiff still had not identified any factual support for his allegation that Defendants had targeted him based on his race (id. at 11), (2) Plaintiff still had not identified any factual support for his allegation that Defendants followed a custom/practice of arresting individuals without probable cause based on race (id. at 12), (3) Plaintiff still had not identified any factual support for his allegation that the Glendale Police Chief failed to follow state and federal standards for hiring, training, and supervising officers (id. at 13), and (4) although Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim was premised on the allegation that Defendants had “tampered with the confrontation call, ” Plaintiff still had not identified any facts supporting this contention (id. at 15-16).

         On March 20, 2019, Plaintiff's counsel called Defendants to state they were working on supplementing discovery. (Doc. 44 at 22.) However, Plaintiff did not subsequently serve any supplemental discovery responses or interrogatory responses. (Id. at 2.)

         On March 29, 2019, Defendants sent Plaintiff's counsel an email that, in part, stated:

[Y]ou have never provided the simplest things-like facts that support Plaintiff's claims-not in the Notice of Claim, not in the MIDP that I have been asking that you supplement since June 2018 and that you pledged to supplement on August 28, 2018 at the Rule 16 Conference, and not in response to written discovery. Gentlemen this is completely unreasonable. I think it is beyond time to file a joint memorandum with the Court as we have reached an impasse . . . .

(Doc. 44 at 24.) Plaintiff's counsel did not bother to respond. (Doc. 44 at 2, 31.)

         On April 25, 2019, nearly a month later, Defendants prepared a written summary of the dispute and emailed the summary to Plaintiff's counsel so they could insert a summary of Plaintiff's position. (Id.) Plaintiff's counsel ignored this request, too.

         On April 29, 2019, Defendants filed a memorandum informing the Court of the ...


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