Sanctions for Libel Defendant’s Obstructionism (Perhaps Connected to Continuing Libel)

In the presence of Judge William Session III Ha v. Conn (D. Vt.):

[Defendant] Ms. Conn’s attorney withdrew from the case several months ago {stating that his relationship with his client had “irrevocably broken down”}. Ms. Conn was ordered by the Court. [on November 5, 2021]To appear as a replacement counsel or to make her appearance on her own pro se (representing herself) within 30 days. This deadline expired in December 2021 and Ms. Conn failed to meet it. The plaintiffs claim that litigation has stalled and that Ms. Conn continues tortious behavior that causes them damage. Plaintiffs therefore move for monetary sanctions to compel Ms. Conn’s compliance with the Court’s order….

Plaintiffs file this lawsuit claiming Ms. Conn has publicly accused them of “criminal offenses with moral turpitude”. She allegedly also posted harassing, intimidating, and racist videos motivated by ethnicity, religion, gender animosity. This behavior is continuing. For relief, Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees….

The Court had dismissed Ms. Conn’s counterclaims in order to impose a penalty. [her] failure [to comply with the order to enter an appearance]. Plaintiffs are now requesting daily monetary penalties, payable to Court until Ms. Conn comply with them. [that] order. Plaintiffs also request attorney’s fees incurred in connection with their motion….

“Courts of justice are universally acknowledged to be vested, by their very creation, with power to impose … submission to their lawful mandates.” These powers “are not governed by statute or rule, but rather by the power that courts have to control their affairs to ensure the expeditious and orderly disposition of cases.” For disobeying an order, a court could hold a noncompliant litigant under contempt. “The underlying concern that gave rise to the contempt power was not … merely the disruption of court proceedings. It was actually disobedience of the Judiciary’s orders, regardless of whether it interfered with the conduct or trial.

The imposition of civil contempt penalties may have two purposes. One, it can be used to ensure future compliance with court orders. Two, it could also serve to compensate the victim. A court may design a remedy for compliance in the event that a contempt sanctions is coercive. … “[W]Hile pro se Although litigants might be treated more favorably than counsel’s representation, litigants in all cases, even those representing themselves, may still get less severe treatment. pro seThey are required to follow court orders. They, as all litigants, are responsible for the consequences of any actions they take.

The counsel for Plaintiffs has filed an affidavit stating that Ms. Conn harasses, intimidates and continues to harass his clients. Plaintiffs also claim to have seen Ms. Conn bragging on the internet about her wealth, while Vermont public records show she has real property in Vermont. The Plaintiffs demand monetary sanctions of between $500 and $1000 each day, until Ms. Conn obeys the Court’s order on November 5, 2021.

Plaintiffs are requesting monetary sanctions due to Ms. Conns inability for several months to comply the Court’s orders. It is evident that Ms. Conn was not able to respond quickly enough, especially in the light of her alleged ongoing defamatory behavior.

Even though there is very little evidence regarding her liquid assets the Court has to make sure that an effective and reasonable fine is imposed. For each day that she continues to violate the November 5, 2021 Order, the Court will impose $200 per day for a maximum of 25 days. Five days following the publication of this Order and Opinion, the sanctions shall take effect. The sanction shall be paid to the United States District Court and deposit at the Court’s registry. It will continue until any further orders of the Court. Plaintiffs can also apply for reasonable attorney fees.

If Ms. Conn does not comply with the November 5, 2021 order within 30 days, Plaintiffs may file a dispositive motion and/or move for additional sanctions….