U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Amy's Country Candles, LLC, No. 2:2017cv06565 - Document 39 (E.D. La. 2019)

Court Description: ORDER AND REASONS DENYING 35 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 6/13/2019. (my)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Amy's Country Candles, LLC Doc. 39 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION CIVIL ACTION NO. 17-6565 VERSUS AMY’S COUNTRY CANDLES, LLC. SECTION “R” (5) ORD ER AN D REASON S Before the Court is defendant’s counsel’s m otion to withdraw as counsel of record.1 For the following reasons, the m otion is denied. I. BACKGROU N D Plaintiff U.S. Equal Em ploym ent Opportunity Com m ission brought this Title VII discrim ination suit against defendant Am y’s Country Candles, LLC on J uly 7, 20 17.2 On Novem ber 19, 20 18, the Court entered a final judgm ent against defendant.3 The final judgm ent reflected a settlem ent agreem ent the parties had reached. As part of that agreem ent, defendant agreed to pay Chelsea Donnelly, the victim of its workplace discrim ination, a 1 2 3 R. Doc. 35. R. Doc. 1. R. Doc. 33. Dockets.Justia.com sum of $ 6,50 0 .4 Defendant was to pay Donnelly $ 2,0 0 0 within one m onth of the entry of the judgm ent, and then the rem aining am ount in m onthly installm ents of $ 30 0 .5 The agreem ent provides that if defendant fails to m ake a scheduled paym ent, and fails to cure such failure within five days of receiving written notice from plaintiff, any rem aining settlem ent funds owed becom e due im m ediately.6 Plaintiff represents that defendant failed to m ake the first $ 2,0 0 0 paym ent within the tim efram e set by the settlem ent agreem ent, causing the entire $ 6,50 0 sum to becom e due.7 Plaintiff further represents that as of May 7, 20 19—the date of plaintiff’s opposition to defendant’s counsel’s m otion— defendant still owes $ 3,60 0 .8 On May 2, 20 19, defendant’s counsel m oved to withdraw as counsel of record for defendant. 9 m otion.10 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Id. at 5-8. Id. Id. at 7. R. Doc. 38 at 3-4. Id. at 4. R. Doc. 35. R. Doc. 38. 2 Plaintiff opposes the II. D ISCU SSION The Court has jurisdiction over this m otion because in the final judgm ent, the Court explicitly “retain[ed] jurisdiction during the term of [the] judgm ent to assure defendant’s full com pliance of its obligations and to perm it entry of any further orders or m odifications as m ay be appropriate.”11 See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am ., 511 U.S. 375, 381 (1994) (a court m ay retain jurisdiction over a settlem ent agreem ent by including in its order of dism issal a provision stating that it intends to retain jurisdiction). “An attorney m ay withdraw from representation only upon leave of the court and a showing of good cause and reasonable notice to the client.” United States v. Porter, No. 12-198, 20 13 WL 5232334, at *5 (E.D. La. Sept. 13, 20 13) (internal quotation m arks om itted). The withdrawal of an attorney in a given case is a m atter entrusted to the sound discretion of the court. Id. When evaluating whether to perm it an attorney to withdraw, “courts consider factors such as the reason withdrawal is sought, the prejudice the withdrawal m ay cause to the other litigants, the harm withdrawal m ay cause to the adm inistration of justice, and the degree to which withdrawal m ay delay resolution of the case.” Zurich Am . Ins. Co. v. Karken, Ltd., No. 982833, 1999 WL 30 7612, at *1 (E.D. La. May 13, 1999). “It is incum bent on 11 R. Doc. 33 at 9. 3 the court to assure that the prosecution of the lawsuit is not disrupted” by the withdrawal of counsel. Broughten v. Voss, 634 F.2d 880 , 882-83 (5th Cir. 1981). The Court will not perm it defendant’s counsel to withdraw. First, counsel have not provided the Court with any reason for their withdrawal. 12 In addition, their withdrawal could prejudice plaintiff and delay the resolution of this case, because it could disrupt plaintiff’s ability to enforce the term s of the settlem ent agreem ent. See Zurich Am . Ins. Co., 1999 WL 30 7612, at *1. According to plaintiff, defendant m ust pay an additional $ 3,60 0 to satisfy its m onetary obligations. The Court sees no reason why defendant’s counsel cannot rem ain as the counsel of record for the period of tim e it will take for defendant to fulfill its rem aining obligation or for the Court to enforce the judgm ent. III. CON CLU SION For the foregoing reasons, defendant’s counsel’s m otion to withdraw is DENIED. 12 R. Doc. 35. 4 New Orleans, Louisiana, this _ _13th _ _ _ day of J une, 20 19. _____________________ SARAH S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT J UDGE 5