United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
PRISCILLA BLUNT, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
FINANCIAL BUSINESS AND CONSUMER SOLUTIONS, INC., Defendant.
S. MOODY. JR. JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's
“Memorandum of Law in Support of Counsel's Petition
for Final Judgment Including an Award of Attorney's Fees
and Reimbursement of Expenses” (Dkt. 32) and
Defendant's Response in Opposition and Request for
Sanctions (Dkt. 33). Upon review of the motion, response, and
being otherwise advised in the premises, the Court denies
Plaintiff's motion, vacates the Court's 60-Day Order
of Dismissal (Dkt. 28) and instructs Plaintiff to SHOW CAUSE
within fourteen (14) days of this Order why the Court should
not enter sanctions against Plaintiff for the multiple
misrepresentations that Plaintiff has made to this Court.
13, 2017, Plaintiff Priscilla Blunt filed a “Notice of
Plaintiff's Acceptance of Defendant's Rule 68 Offer
of Judgment.” (Dkt. 27). On June 14, 2017, the Court,
in reliance on Plaintiff's Notice, entered a 60-Day Order
of Dismissal. (Dkt. 28). The 60-Day Order stated, in relevant
part, that the parties had 60 days to file a
“stipulated form of final order or judgment should they
so choose, ” or, during that same period of time,
either party could move to reopen the action “upon good
cause shown.” The 60-Day Order further instructed that
after the “60-day period, ” dismissal would be
“with prejudice.” (Dkt. 28).
August 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Attorney's
Fees. (Dkt. 29). The next day, on August 11, 2017, the Court
denied the Motion for its failure to comply with Local Rule
3.01(g). The Court also noted that the Motion
seemed premature because the parties had not provided the
Court with a stipulated final judgment. (Dkt. 30).
August 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a one-page letter to the
Court that was stricken because it did not comply with the
Court's Local Rules to the extent that it was not a
motion, did not contain a legal memorandum, and, once again,
did not contain a certificate of conference as required under
Local Rule 3.01(g). (Dkt. 31).
August 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Attorney's
Fees and represented that she had accepted Defendant's
Offer of Judgment in the amount of $1, 050, but that the
parties were unable to come to an agreement on an amount of
attorney's fees and costs. (Dkt. 32).
September 1, 2017, Defendant filed its Response in Opposition
and Request for Sanctions. (Dkt. 33). Defendant states that
Plaintiff did not timely accept the Offer of Judgment.
Specifically, Defendant claims that the Offer of Judgment was
deemed withdrawn because Plaintiff did not accept it during
the fourteen-day deadline. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 68
(“If, within 14 days after being served, the
opposing party serves written notice accepting the offer,
either party may then file the offer and notice of
acceptance, plus proof of service. The clerk must then enter
judgment.”) (emphasis added). A review of the documents
attached to Defendant's Response makes clear that
Plaintiff's acceptance was untimely.
Defendant's Response attaches an e-mail Defendant's
counsel sent to Plaintiff's counsel on June 15, 2017,
informing Plaintiff's counsel that the acceptance was
untimely. The e-mail states that there is no agreement
between the parties for settlement because the Offer of
Judgment was “no longer in existence at the time of
acceptance” and that the parties “need to move
forward with moving the Court to re-open the action for
litigation based on the invalid Notice of Acceptance.”
(Dkt. 33-2). As outlined above, despite this e-mail,
Plaintiff filed the August 10, 2017 Motion for Attorney's
Fees and continued to represent that the only remaining issue
was the Court's determination of a reasonable amount for
attorney's fees and costs.
Response also attaches a second e-mail that Defendant's
counsel sent to Plaintiff's counsel on August 16,
2017-two days before Plaintiff's most recent Motion
claiming that the Offer of Judgment was timely
accepted-informing Plaintiff's counsel that his
actions have been “improper” because
Plaintiff's counsel is “absolutely aware”
that the Notice of Acceptance Plaintiff filed with the Court
is “bogus.” (Dkt. 33-3).
review of this entire record, the Court agrees that Plaintiff
has been disingenuous with this Court. Indeed,
Plaintiff's filings have continuously maintained that
there was a valid acceptance of Defendant's Offer of
Judgment and that the only remaining issue to be resolved is
an award of attorney's fees and costs. These
misrepresentations make a mockery of the Court, waste
judicial resources, unreasonably and vexatiously multiply
this proceeding, and will not be permitted.
because Plaintiffs misrepresentations resulted in the entry
of the Court's 60-Day Order of Dismissal, the Court will
first vacate that Order and direct the Clerk to reopen this
case. Plaintiff will then have to show cause in writing why
sanctions should not be entered against Plaintiff for these
therefore ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
1. Plaintiffs “Memorandum of Law in Support of
Counsel's Petition for Final Judgment Including an Award
of Attorney's Fees and Reimbursement of ...