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Judge Threatens Sanction for Lawyers’ 20-Minute-Late Appearance

May 14, 2021, 7:59 PM

Lawyers representing Sheard-Loman Transport LLC in a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit over allegedly unpaid overtime wages have to explain why they shouldn’t be sanctioned, after neither showed up on time for a final settlement hearing before Northern District of Illinois Judge Steven C. Seeger.

After the lawyers for Sheard-Loman failed to appear at the beginning of the hearing, which according to the docket entry was set “over two months ago,” Seeger directed counsel for one of the other parties to send an email to the lawyers advising them that their attendance was required. One of the lawyers had explained in an email that he was tied-up in a meeting.

Lawyer Brian Dougherty eventually dialed-in, but over 20 minutes late, the entry said.

Seeger directed both Dougherty and Richard Nogal, attorneys with Goldstine Skrodzki Russian Nemec and Hoff Ltd., to file separate briefs by May 21, “explaining why the Court should not impose sanctions for failing to timely appear for the final approval hearing today.”

Seeger further directed counsel for another defendant, Amazon.com LLC, “to file the emails exchanged with attorney Dougherty.”

The hearing had already been rescheduled, “reluctantly,” by the court, after the parties failed to “effectuate notice in a timely manner.”

The court got on with its business, however, finally approving the $550,000.00 class and collective action settlement to resolve claims brought by delivery associates and dispatchers.

The class is represented by Lichten & Liss-Riordan PC, Berger Montague PC and Willig, Williams & Davidson. Amazon.com and Amazon Logistics Inc. are represented by Morgan Lewis & Bockius.

The case is Gongaware v. Amazon.com, N.D. Ill., No. 1:18-cv-08358, docket 5/13/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Holly Barker in Washington at hbarker@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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