On December 18, 2014, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 13-1111) ordered consumer attorney Reid D. Henderson to pay almost $7,000 in attorney fees as sanctions for his repeated failures to comply with Court orders in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) suit.
The suit was filed against a debt buyer and its collection law firm.
First, Mr. Henderson failed to comply with the Court’s order directing him to confer with the court apportioned mediator. Mr. Henderson then failed to appear at a Court ordered Status Conference, causing the federal judge to issue an Order to Show Cause why Mr. Henderson should not be held in contempt. At that time, the court also dismissed the FDCPA lawsuit on the grounds of lack of prosecution.
Later, Mr. Henderson appeared and convinced the Judge not to find him in contempt of court. Nonetheless, the Court granted the Defendants’ motion for attorney fees as a sanction for Mr. Henderson’s failure to comply with Court directives to appear and participate in mediation and for failing to appear at Court ordered hearings.
This was the most recent court ruling addressing Mr. Henderson’s failure to appear in court. Earlier, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (Case No. 2010 SC3 3249) granted a Motion for Relief from Judgment filed by Mr. Henderson’s former client on the basis that the consumer client was prejudiced by Mr. Henderson’s failure to attend three court hearings. In its ruling, the court observed that Mr. Henderson’s conduct reflected a “pattern of gross negligence” sufficient to allow his former client to proceed with the benefit of a prior negotiated settlement.
Mr. Henderson’s website, last accessed December 18, 2014, which boasts of his 2012 award from the District of Columbia Bar as “Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year” for his work with low income clients in the Consumer Law Resource Center, fails to mention these two court rulings.
Ronald S. Canter, Esq. is the founding member of The Law Offices of Ronald S. Canter, LLC of Rockville, Maryland. Canter’s firm recently announced an Of Counsel relationship with Bedard Law Group. He is a member of the Bars of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida and the District of Columbia. He is also admitted to practice in federal courts through the United States, including the Supreme Court and several courts of appeal.