Wallace v. Kmart Corp.

In a recusal motion, Rohn alleged that the district judge’s personal animosity toward her was creating an appearance of bias and prejudice against her clients. Sun, a defendant in one of seven underlying cases, sought discovery. Sun subpoenaed Rohn, seeking production of documents and scheduling of a deposition. Rohn sought to have the order requiring her to appear for deposition vacated. The Third Circuit denied the petition, but directed that discovery be overseen by a magistrate, and not the district judge about whom the recusal motion was focused. According to defendants, Rohn appeared for her deposition, but did not produce documents. Defendants moved for contempt under FRCP 45(e). The magistrate held Rohn in contempt and awarded attorney’s fees. The district judge affirmed without holding a hearing. The Third Circuit held that it had jurisdiction, then remanded. Rohn’s actions occurred outside of the magistrate’s presence and not in a proceeding where the magistrate was presiding with the consent of the parties; the magistrate was overseeing pretrial proceedings and should have certified the facts of the alleged contempt to the district judge, who in turn should have held a hearing to determine those facts. View "Wallace v. Kmart Corp." on Justia Law