United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
SISER NORTH AMERICA, INC. ET AL, Plaintiffs,
WORLD PAPER INC. ET AL, Defendants,
MICHAEL L. FEINSTEIN, Respondent.
ORDER AFFIRMING MAGISTRATE JUDGE ELIZABETH A.
STAFFORD'S ORDER FOR ATTORNEY MICHAEL L. FEINSTEIN TO
REIMBURSE PLAINTIFFS $76, 925.53 (#64) AND OVERRULING
RESPONDENT MICHAEL L. FEINSTEIN'S AMENDED OBJECTIONS
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
March 23, 2018, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford issued
an Order and Opinion granting Plaintiffs Motion to Compel,
deeming Admitted Requests to Admit, Striking the other
Discovery Responses, and ordering Florida attorney Michael L.
Feinstein to pay sanctions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 37. Dkt. No.
44, (PageID 786). On May 4, 2018, the Magistrate Judge
ordered Michael L. Feinstein ("Mr. Feinstein") to
reimburse Plaintiffs $76, 925.53. Dkt. No. 64, (PageID 1275).
Mr. Feinstein's Objections to the May 4, 2018 Order are
now before the Court. Dkt. No. 71, (PageID 2201). The Court
has reviewed the Magistrate Judge's Order, as well as the
parties' pleadings on the matter, and finds that an
additional hearing will not aid in the resolution of this
matter. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the
following reasons, the Court affirms Magistrate Judge
Stafford's May 4, 2018 Order and overrules Mr.
Feinstein's Objections to that Order.
civil action arose in December of 2016 when Plaintiffs Siser
North America, Inc. and Siser S.R.L. ("Plaintiffs")
filed their Complaint alleging that Defendants World Paper,
Inc., Herika G., Ekaterina Kostioukina, Jerosa Designs
HG World Group, Inc., DOES #1-10, and Hernan Gonzalez
("Defendants") illegally advertised and sold
inferior counterfeit heat-transfer products on websites such
as Amazon and eBay under one or more of Plaintiffs'
trademarks - namely, "Cadflex,"
"Reflectall," "Easyweed," and
"Siser." At that time, Plaintiffs were represented
by attorneys Barbara L. Mandell ("Ms. Mandell") and
Michael B. Stewart ("Mr. Stewart") of Fishman
Stewart PLLC, whereas Defendants were represented by
attorneys Franklin M. Smith ("Mr. Smith") of
Dickinson Wright PLLC ("Dickinson Wright") and Mr.
Feinstein. Following a scheduling conference with
this Court, a jury trial was set for November 2018.
October 6, 2017, Plaintiff Siser North America, Inc. filed a
Motion to Compel, requesting an order to determine the
sufficiency of Defendants' answers to requests to admit,
to compel the Defendants to answer interrogatories in good
faith, to produce requested documents, to comply with
Plaintiffs' third party subpoenas, and to compel the
appearance of Defendants' "alleged lead
counsel." Dkt. No. 23, (PageID 208). On October 11,
Judge Drain referred the Plaintiffs Motion to Compel to be
heard and determined by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A.
Stafford pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Dkt. No.
24, (PageID 331).
the Defendants' response and Plaintiffs reply, the Court
scheduled a hearing and ordered the parties to meet and
confer in order to file a joint list of unresolved issues.
Dkt. Nos. 26, 28, 29 (PageID 333, 365, 412). On January 8,
2018, the parties filed a joint list of unresolved issues
laid out in 84 pages. (PageID 419). On February 12, 2018,
Magistrate Judge Stafford ordered an evidentiary hearing on
Plaintiffs Motion to Compel and for Defendants to show cause
why they should not be sanctioned under Rule 37(a)(5) and the
Court's inherent authority. Dkt. No. 34, (PageID 508).
The evidentiary hearing took place on March 9, 2018 before
Magistrate Judge Stafford. See Transcript of
Evidentiary Hearing at Dkt. No. 42, (PageID 671). On March
23, 2018, Magistrate Judge Stafford issued an Order and
Opinion granting Plaintiffs Motion to Compel, deeming
Admitted Requests to Admit, Striking the other Discovery
Responses, and ordering Mr. Feinstein to pay sanctions under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37. Dkt. No. 44, (PageID 786). Plaintiffs then
submitted a Bill of Costs with a supporting affidavit
outlining the fees incurred as a result of the discovery
issues raised in the Motion to Compel. Dkt. No. 49, (PageID
872). Based on this submission, Magistrate Judge Stafford on
May 4, 2018 ordered Mr. Feinstein to reimburse Plaintiffs
$76, 925.53. Dkt. No. 64, (PageID 1253). Mr. Feinstein missed
the 14-day deadline to object to Magistrate Judge
Stafford's March 23, 2018 Order and Opinion, and on May
7, 2018 the undersigned denied Mr. Feinstein's Motion to
Extend the Deadline. Dkt. No. 68, (PageID 1265). On May 18,
2018, Mr. Feinstein filed Objections to the Magistrate
Judge's May 4 Order, which he subsequently amended that
same day. Dkt. No. 71, (PageID 2201). The Court now reviews
Mr. Feinstein's Amended Objections pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Standard of Review
has 14 days to object to a magistrate judge's proposed
findings on designated pretrial matters. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(A). A U.S. district court judge may reconsider a
designated pretrial matter only if the magistrate judge's
findings are clearly erroneous or contrary to law.
Id. A finding is clearly erroneous when
"although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing
court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and
firm conviction that a mistake has been committed."
Anderson v. Bessemer City, 470 U.S. 564, 573 (1985)
(citing United States v. United States Gypsum Co.,
333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948)). Under this standard, a reviewing
court cannot simply reverse a decision because it would have
weighed the evidence differently as the finder of fact.
Id. at 574 (citing United States v. Yellow Cab
Co., 338 U.S. 338, 342 (1949)).
Feinstein makes two main objections to Magistrate Judge
Stafford's findings: the first challenges the underlying
reasons for why the Rule 37 sanctions were imposed, and the
second challenges the amount of attorneys' fees and costs
he was ordered to pay. Obj. at 9. The Court will address each
objection and its subparts in turn.
Feinstein first obj ects to the underlying reasons for why he
was sanctioned to pay the Plaintiffs' fees. Dkt. No. 71,
(PageID 2209). But Mr. Feinstein missed his deadline to
object to the Magistrate Judge's March 23?
2018 Order and Opinion outlining these reasons, and was not
granted an extension to do so. Dkt. No. 68, (PageID 1265). By
attempting to object to the Magistrate Judge's March 23,
2018 Order and Opinion in his objection to her May 4, 2018
Order, Mr. Feinstein is attempting to insubordinately skirt
this Court's authority and procedure. As such, the Court
is under no obligation to consider Mr. Feinstein's first
objection. Nonetheless, even if the Court were to do so, Mr.
Feinstein's first objection is still without merit.
Feinstein claims that it was Plaintiffs counsel, Mr. Stewart,
who hindered the parties' meet and confer on February 16,
2018 since Mr. Smith and Dickinson Wright were authorized to
provide representation for the Plaintiffs in this meeting,
even though Mr. Feinstein had not yet been admitted to
practice in this Court. Dkt. No. 71, (PageID 2209-10). Mr.
Feinstein goes on to claim that Mr. Smith is to ...