United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
M. BROWN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance
Company's motion for civil contempt and for entry of
judgment against Candace Williamson, attorney of record for
the Estate of Purvis William Hill, Jr. Doc. #123.
March 6, 2017, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
(“Mass Mutual”), invoking Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 17, 25, and 41, and the Court's inherent power
to sanction, filed a “Motion for Entry of an Order to
Show Cause, ” asking the Court to require Candace
Williamson to show cause why these consolidated cases should
not be dismissed for her failure to comply with various court
orders. Doc. #69. United States Magistrate Judge Jane M.
Virden noticed the show cause motion for a March 16, 2017,
hearing. Doc. #70. Williamson did not appear for the hearing.
See Doc. #71. The next day, Judge Virden issued an
order awarding Mass. Mutual attorney's fees and expenses
associated with its show cause motion and the subsequent
hearing. Doc. #72. Judge Virden found sanctions justified by
Williamson's “unprofessional and
reprehensible” “flagrant disregard of this
court's orders ….” Id. at 2.
Mutual submitted an itemization of fees on March 24, 2017, in
the amount of $12, 913.46. Doc. #73. On April 4, 2017, noting
“the subject [of] the motions concerned was not
complex, and the motions were granted only in part, ”
Judge Virden approved a $3, 000 fee award and directed
Williamson to pay such amount by May 19, 2017. Doc. #74.
Mass. Mutual did not object to the reduced fee award.
Williamson failed to pay the $3, 000 fee award by the ordered
date, Mass. Mutual, on June 1, 2017, filed a motion to compel
the payment or, in the alternative, to hold Williamson in
contempt. Doc. #87. Judge Virden noticed the motion for a
June 22, 2017, hearing. Doc. #88. Williamson did not appear
for the hearing. See Doc. #90 at 4.
26, 2017, Judge Virden issued an order stating:
The court finds, as it explained at the hearing, that Ms.
Williamson's conduct, as an officer of the court, in
repeatedly refusing to follow the court's orders is
egregious. Indeed, this conduct is willful and prejudicial to
the administration of justice, a violation of
MISS.R.PROF'L CONDUCT 8.4 (d). Given the gravity of this
matter, the court awards, as additional sanctions for
counsel's misconduct, fees of an additional $1, 000.00 to
be paid to Mass. Mutual by Ms. Williamson for the benefit of
its counsel, bringing the total fees now awarded to $4,
000.00. The court further orders that the total fees shall be
paid in full on or before 7 days from the date of this order.
If Ms. Williamson fails to pay the fees timely or otherwise
seek and obtain relief from this court for inability to do
so, an additional sanction of $100.00 a day will accrue,
until the total is fully satisfied.
Id. at 4.
Estate's claims were subsequently dismissed by the
undersigned as a sanction for Williamson engaging “in
contumacious conduct by flagrantly disregarding numerous
orders of the Court.” Doc. #119 at 7-8. Mass.
Mutual's complaint for a declaratory judgment was
dismissed as moot. Doc. #122. In the order of dismissal, this
Court specifically noted that it retained jurisdiction over
the ongoing sanctions issue. See id. at 2.
April 10, 2019, Mass. Mutual filed a motion asking the Court
to hold Candace Williamson in civil contempt and to enter
judgment against “Williamson in favor of MassMutual in
the amount of $68, 600.00, ” with such award to
increase at a rate of a $100.00 per day. Doc. #123 at 6.
At Judge Virden's direction, Mass. Mutual filed a
supplemental brief in support of its motion. Doc. #126. At
the undersigned's direction, Mass. Mutual filed a second
supplemental brief. Doc. #129. Despite having the
opportunities to do so, Williamson did not respond to the
motion or either supplemental brief.