Court Rules For Pacquiao’s Lawyers, Defers Ruling On Sanctions

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (jGLi) – United States District Court Judge Larry R. Hicks of Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday (Oct. 18) imposed on Floyd Mayweather, Jr. “monetary sanctions related to the cost of deposition, as well as attorney’s fees relating to that deposition” for not complying “with a court order and attend his deposition.”

But Hicks denied Manny Pacquiao’s requested sanctions against “Mayweather, Jr.’s counterclaims and entering default judgment” pending conclusion of discovery in early 2012.

Hicks gave Pacquiao’s lawyers led by David Marroso “ten days to file a motion for attorney’s fees that comply with” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37.

The court issued a three-page order after Pacquiao filed motions for default judgment, dismiss counterclaims, and motion for attorney’s fees related to Mayweather, Jr.’s failure to attend his scheduled deposition.

The motions grew out of the lawsuit Pacquiao filed against Mayweather, Jr. and several others following the breakdown of negotiation for a late 2009, Las Vegas boxing match between the two superstars when their fight did not push thru.

Shortly after, Mayweather, Jr. stated publicly that Pacquiao has used, and is using performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s), including steroids and human growth hormone (HGH). On Dec. 30, 2009, Pacquiao filed a complaint in federal court for $5-million plus defamation against Mayweather, Jr.

During discovery, Pacquiao scheduled Mayweather, Jr.’s deposition. Mayweather, Jr. then filed a motion for a protective order to preclude the deposition, which was denied by the magistrate judge and affirmed by this court (Judge Hicks). Despite the denial of his motion for a protective order, Mayweather, Jr. failed to attend his scheduled deposition. This prompted Pacquiao to file the present motions for various sanctions.

FIVE FACTORS

In resolving Pacquiao’s motions, the court examined five factors: (1) the public’s interest in the expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the court’s need to manage its docket; (3) the risk of prejudice to nonoffending party; (4) the public policy favoring disposition of cases on the merits; and (5) availability of less drastic sanctions.
In reviewing these factors, the court made two important findings. First, there has been no prior order from this court involving the issuance of sanctions against Mayweather, Jr. This is the first time the court is addressing Mayweather, Jr.’s failure to comply with a discovery request and court order.

As such, this factor weighs against Pacquiao’s request for case ending sanctions because less severe sanctions are still available to the court to curb Mayweather, Jr.’s improper behavior. Second, the court finds that Pacquiao has failed to establish any prejudice that would result from not issuing such drastic sanctions. Discovery in this action has not concluded and will not conclude until early 2012, providing the parties another opportunity to schedule the deposition, the court ruled.

The court also found that Pacquiao’s requested sanctions dismissing Mayweather, Jr.’s counterclaims and entering default judgment are inappropriate. However, any further failures by Mayweather, Jr. may invite such severe sanctions.

As a result, the court does find that monetary sanctions related to the cost of the deposition, as well as attorney’s fees relating to that deposition and the present motion are appropriate in light of Mayweather, Jr.’s failure to comply with a court order and attend his deposition.
The court said it is granting Pacquiao ten (10) days to file a motion for attorney’s fees that complies with LR 54-16 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The negotiation between Pacquiao and Mayweather for a welterweight megafight promises to be the richest fight ever until it ended in a deadlock when Mayweather’s camp suggested that both fighters undergo an Olympic-style blood testing from 14 days to 48 hours at random before fight time.

Pacquiao has since moved on after the broken negotiation, facing other boxers, the latest of whom will be Mexican world champion Juan Manuel Marquez, who will be clashing with him for the third time on Nov. 12 with Manny staking his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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