CIVIL ACTION NO: 98-2629 SECTION: "J"(5)
August 22, 2003
Before the Court is Intervenor Dale E. Williams' Motion to Withdraw Funds from the Registry of the Court (Rec. Doc. 160) which is set for a hearing with oral argument on September 3, 2003. Plaintiff Angie Gobert has filed a memorandum in opposition (Rec. Doc. 159). Williams has also filed a reply memorandum (Rec. Doc. 163) in support of his motion. Upon consideration of the briefs submitted by counsel, the record, and the applicable law, the Court is prepared to resolve this dispute without oral argument and concludes that Williams' motion should be granted in part and denied in part.
Accordingly, the oral argument scheduled on September 3, 2003 is cancelled.
BackgroundOn July 17, 2002, this Court awarded Williams a contingency fee in the amount of $17,419.19 to be offset by monies held by Williams in his trust account. See Rec. Doc. 143. The Fifth Circuit then affirmed the awarding of the contingency fee to Williams. Gobert v. Williams, 323 F.3d 1099, 1100 (5th Cir. 2003). Gobert has deposited $10,678.73 into the registry of the Court to cover the principal and interest of the amount owed to Williams. See Rec. Docs. 154 and 157.
Williams now contends that the amount of the contingency fee award offset by the monies held in his trust account equals $8,898.94. With interest, Williams argues that he be allowed to withdraw $9,594.84 from the Court's registry.
Gobert does not challenge the premise that Williams be allowed to withdraw funds from the registry. However, she does argue that the amount payable to Williams should be subject to a credit of. $2,859.54, representing amounts advanced by her for costs and expenses that she claims were never accounted for or returned to her at the end of the litigation. Gobert has never raised this issue previously and does not present any evidence in support of her argument.
On the other hand, Williams provides a very detailed statement of his costs which provides a breakdown of how he accounted for the money advanced to him by Gobert. Furthermore, he provides the affidavit of his legal assistant, Mindy Labrosse, which states that Gobert was fully apprized of the crediting of all advanced costs and that Gobert was satisfied by Labrosse's accounting. After considering Williams' evidence, the Court concludes that Gobert's argument has no merit. Since Gobert does not object to any of the other calculations made by Williams, and the fact that the calculations appear to be reasonable, Williams is entitled to withdraw funds from the Court's registry in the amount of $9,594.84.
Additionally, Williams argues that Gobert should be sanctioned pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 because her opposition to the instant motion was designed solely for the purposes of harassment and delay, Williams contends that Gobert's opposition memorandum has no support in fact or law and was essentially filed in bad faith.
The Court does not believe that Rule 11 sanctions are warranted in this matter. While Gobert's opposition memorandum provides little discussion of the factual and legal basis for her argument and presents no evidentiary support, the Court is not convinced that. Gobert's memorandum was filed in bad faith or for improper purposes. Therefore, Williams' request that sanctions be levied against Gobert must be denied.
It is HEREBY ORDERED that Intervenor Dale E. Williams' Motion to Withdraw Funds from the Registry (Rec. Doc. 163) be granted in part and denied in part.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to Local Rule 67.3, Williams is to be reimbursed $9,594.84 from the Court's registry.
It is FURTHER ORDERED that the oral argument scheduled on September 3, 2003 is cancelled.
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