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LOFTUS v. SEPTA

June 19, 1998

FRANCIS J. LOFTUS, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBRENO

ORDER-MEMORANDUM

 AND NOW, this 19th day of June, 1998, upon the Order of June 5, 1998, issuing a Rule to Show Cause why counsel for plaintiff, H. Francis deLone, Jr., Esq., should not be held in contempt for failure to comply with the Court's Order of May 8, 1998 and after a hearing on the record, it is hereby ORDERED that H. Francis deLone is ADJUDGED IN CIVIL CONTEMPT.

 It is FURTHER ORDERED that H. Francis deLone, Jr. shall pay to the Court $ 100 per day for each day that he does not pay the sanctions, or does not satisfy the condition of a stay if one is entered by the Court, and shall pay attorney fees and costs incurred by defendants in connection with their motions to have Mr. deLone held in contempt within 10 days. This Order is based upon the following findings:

 1. On May 8, 1998 the Court issued an Order requiring Mr. deLone to pay $ 4,000 in attorney fees to the defendants in this case for pursuing the instant lawsuit after it became clear during the course of litigation that the lawsuit was frivolous. *fn1"

 2. On May 20, 1998, two days before the last day provided for in the order for payment, Mr. deLone filed a notice of appeal as well as a motion to stay the proceedings. He did not request that his motion to stay the proceedings be handled in an expedited fashion.

 3. By Order dated May 21, 1998, a hearing on the motion to stay the proceedings was scheduled for June 5, 1998. Mr. deLone was informed by the May 21, 1998 Order that the filing of a motion for a stay did not relieve him from complying with the terms of the Court's Order imposing sanctions. *fn2"

 4. The June 5, 1998 hearing on the motion to stay the proceedings was continued to June 9, 1998 based on a request by counsel for defendant SEPTA. Mr. deLone had no objection to the matter being rescheduled.

 5. In the meantime, Mr. deLone did not pay the $ 4,000 as required by the May 8, 1998 Order. On June 3, 1998, defendants SEPTA and Local 234 filed motions to hold Mr. deLone in civil contempt for failing to pay each of them $ 2,000 as ordered.

 6. On June 5, 1998, the Court issued a Rule to Show Cause Order why Mr. deLone should not be held in contempt, and scheduled a hearing for June 9, 1998, the same date as the hearing on the motion to stay the proceedings.

 7. On June 9, 1998, at the hearing, Mr. deLone advised the Court that he was not prepared to address the Rule to Show Cause Order because he had not received the Order as a result of moving his offices. When questioned on the issue, Mr. deLone claimed that he had filed a notice of change of address with the Court. Although the Court was unable to locate any record indicating that Mr. deLone indeed filed a notice of change of address prior to the Court issuing the Order of June 5, 1998, *fn3" the Court agreed to continue the Rule to Show Cause Hearing. The Court scheduled the continued hearing for June 19, 1998.

 8. In the interest of judicial economy, the Court declined to rule on Mr. deLone's motion to stay the proceedings until the Court addressed the contempt issue on June 19, 1998.

 9. On June 17, 1998, Mr. deLone filed a notice of appeal seeking a stay of the district court proceedings from the Court of Appeals.

 10. On June 19, 1998, the Court held a hearing on both the Rule to Show Cause Order and the motion for stay the proceedings. Mr. deLone was afforded an opportunity to present evidence and argument on his motion to stay the proceedings and the Rule to Show Cause Order. He was also afforded an opportunity to present evidence regarding his claim that he is unable to pay the sanction.

 11. "The purpose of civil contempt is primarily remedial and to benefit the complainant. Civil contempt sanctions are designed either to compensate the injured party or to coerce the defendant into complying with the court's order." ...


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