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Motion for Sanctions – Failure to Convey Settlement Offer – Reasonable Fees

Blowers v. Lerner (VLW No. 017-3-469, 17 pp.)(Lee, J.) 1:15-cv-889; E.D. Va.

Holding:  On a motion for sanctions against respondent opposing plaintiff’s counsel for failure to convey a settlement offer, the court may after dismissing substantive claims retain jurisdiction to consider sanctions under 28 U.S.C. § 1927. Here, the fees and costs defense counsel incurred from the time when plaintiff’s counsel failed to convey their settlement offer through when the court resolved substantive motions were reasonable. However court reduces the overall award by $5000 because of a lack of adequate documentation for certain fees.

Plaintiff sued defendant attorneys in federal court, alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Act by virtue of said attorneys filing of a state court action against him, seeking to recover unpaid attorney’s fees plaintiff owed.

In the course of that federal action, defense counsel made a settlement offer to respondent plaintiff’s counsel, who in turn failed to convey the offer to plaintiff. The court ultimately dismissed plaintiff’s substantive claims but retained jurisdiction to consider sanctions cross-motions involving counsel on both sides.

Defense motion for sanctions granted.  Respondent ordered to pay $79,752 to defendant attorneys for excess costs, expenses and attorney’s fees that they reasonably incurred as a result of respondent’s misconduct.

VLW 017-3-469