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Orman v. Central Loan Administration & Reporting

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 5, 2019

Leslie E. Orman, Petitioner,
v.
Central Loan Administration & Reporting, et al., Respondents.

          ORDER

          DOMINIC W. LANZA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court are the “Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award Or, in the Alternative, to Dismiss for Improper Venue and Request for Sanctions” by CitiMortgage, Inc. (“CMI”) (Doc. 13), the “Motion to Vacate Arbitration Award Or, in the Alternative, to Dismiss for Improper Venue and Request for Sanctions” by Central Loan Administration & Reporting (“Cenlar”), which appears to have been filed three times (Docs. 15, 16, 17), the “Application for Withdrawal” by Petitioner's counsel, Jeremy Claridge (“Counsel”) (Doc. 18), and Petitioner's “Response and Motion to Strike Respondents' Pleadings As Frivolous and Motion for Confirmation of Arbitration Award” (Doc. 19). The Court will address the motion to strike and the application to withdraw as counsel of record.

         I. Motion To Strike

         Pursuant to LRCiv 7.2(m), “[u]nless made at trial, a motion to strike may be filed only if it is authorized by statute or rule, such as Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(f), 26(g)(2) or 37(b)(2)(A)(iii), or if it seeks to strike any part of a filing or submission on the ground that it is prohibited (or not authorized) by a statute, rule, or court order.” Petitioner does not identify any statute or rule that would authorize her motion to strike, nor does she suggest that Respondents' motions are prohibited (or not authorized) by statute, rule, or court order. Petitioner's filing offers only arguments as to why the motions should be denied, not as to why they should be struck. Thus, Petitioner's motion to strike is denied.[1]

         II. Identical Motions

         Unrelated to Petitioner's motion to strike, the Court notes that Cenlar appears to have filed the same motion three times, and the three filings appear to be identical. (Docs. 15, 16, 17.) The Court assumes this was an error. Thus, for the sake of clarity, the Court will strike two of the three identical motions (Docs. 16 and 17) and leave only the first one (Doc. 15) pending. The Clerk of Court shall update the docket such that the title of the filing at Doc. 15 reflects the full title of the motion.

         III. Motion To Withdraw

         Counsel's motion to withdraw as counsel for Petitioner was filed on the heels of two motions for sanctions against both Petitioner and Counsel.

         On August 15, 2019, CMI filed a request for sanctions, averring:

[T]here was no legitimate justification for Orman's attorney's decision to initiate these proceedings and force CMI into Court to address an arbitration award that, on its face, clearly lacked any valid legal basis. No. reasonable attorney, proceeding as he is required to proceed under Rule 11, could have looked at Orman's Proposal and believed it provided any basis on which to conduct an arbitration and/or render an award.

(Doc. 13 at 10.)

         CMI bases its request for attorneys' fees on three grounds: (1) Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, (2) 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and (3) the Court's “inherent authority” to award fees when a party has acted “in bad faith, vexatiously, wantonly, or for oppressive reasons.” Id. (quoting Hall v. Cole, 412 U.S. 1, 5 (1973)). At least one of those grounds (§ 1927) applies only to Counsel, and to the extent CMI seeks fees pursuant to Rule 11(b)(2), that ground also applies only to Counsel. Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(c)(5)(A).

         On August 27, 2019, Cenlar also filed a request for sanctions, seeking attorneys' fees from both Petitioner and Counsel and citing the same three legal bases as CMI. (Doc. 15 at 13.)

         On August 30, 2019, Counsel filed a motion to withdraw as counsel for Petitioner with Petitioner's signed consent. (Doc. 18). Counsel stated that “to effectively advocate her claims . . . and to efficiently defend herself from the bold allegations made by Respondents, it is imperative ...


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