71 F.3d 1294 (7th Cir. 1995), 95-1288, Doe v. Maywood Housing Authority

Docket Nº:95-1288.
Citation:71 F.3d 1294
Party Name:Jane DOE and Mary Roe, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. MAYWOOD HOUSING AUTHORITY and Ricardo Marshall, Defendants. Appeal of Robert L. SCOTT.
Case Date:December 07, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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71 F.3d 1294 (7th Cir. 1995)

Jane DOE and Mary Roe, Plaintiffs-Appellees,


MAYWOOD HOUSING AUTHORITY and Ricardo Marshall, Defendants.

Appeal of Robert L. SCOTT.

No. 95-1288.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 7, 1995

Argued Sept. 15, 1995.

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Sheldon T. Zenner, Nicole N. Auerbach (argued), Maureen D. Pearson, Katten, Muchin & Zavis, Chicago, IL, Helen Cropper, Amy F. Peterson, Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, Oak Park, IL, for Jane Doe, Mary Roe.

Stanley L. Hill, Andre M. Grant, Hill & Associates, Chicago, IL, for Maywood Housing Authority.

Judith A. Scully, Chicago, IL, for Ricardo Marshall.

Robert L. Scott, Chicago, IL, pro se.

Before POSNER, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and MANION, Circuit Judges.

MANION, Circuit Judge.

Attorney Robert L. Scott appeals two orders from the district court, one which found him in criminal contempt for violating a protective order requiring that he and his clients not use real names to identify the plaintiffs in this case, and the second which sanctioned him under Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 for filing a frivolous counterclaim. Because the district court's orders were well-founded and Scott was granted all necessary procedural protections, we affirm.

I. Background

In May 1993 plaintiffs Jane Doe and Mary Roe filed a complaint against defendants Maywood Housing Authority ("Maywood") and Ricardo Marshall alleging violations of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 3601 et seq. (Title VIII), and of their constitutional rights, for which they sought redress under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. The plaintiffs charged that Marshall, an official with Maywood, attempted to receive sexual favors in exchange for advantages in housing opportunities. The plaintiffs also alleged that Maywood knew of Marshall's history of sexual harassment but allowed him to continue to work there. Attorney Robert L. Scott ("Scott"), the actual appellant in this case, represented Maywood and Marshall until March 29, 1994, when he withdrew as counsel. The underlying case is still pending in the district court. 1

Because of the sensitive subject matter of the plaintiffs' suit, on June 30, 1993, the district court granted the motion of Doe and

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Roe to proceed using pseudonyms. On August 31, 1993, the district court entered a protective order which prevented Maywood and Marshall from using Doe's and Roe's real names during this litigation. But on November 16, 1993, on behalf of Maywood and Marshall, Scott filed an answer and counterclaim (a document erroneously entitled "Complaint") in which Scott used plaintiffs' pseudonyms in the caption, but repeatedly referred to the plaintiffs by their true names in the body of the document. The counterclaim sought damages from Doe and Roe for filing their complaint, and sounded in the nature of a malicious prosecution cause of action.

The district court sealed the answer and counterclaim because it disclosed the identities of Doe and Roe in violation of the protective order. Doe and Roe moved to dismiss the counterclaim and filed a motion for an order to show cause why Scott should not be held in contempt of court for revealing their identities. In his response to the motion for an order to show cause, Scott again referred to the plaintiffs by their true names.

On September 21, 1994, the district court, in a well-reasoned memorandum opinion and order, considered the parameters of its protective order and whether Scott's actions violated that order. When it found they had, it considered whether these violations could constitute civil or criminal contempt and whether Scott was entitled to a jury trial. The district court concluded that Scott's violations of the protective order could constitute criminal contempt, although they were not a candidate for summary adjudication under Fed.R.Crim.P. 42(a), and that a jury trial was not necessary because the sanctions the court was considering did not exceed six months' imprisonment or a $10,000 fine. Accordingly, the district court ordered Scott to show cause why he should not be held in criminal contempt for revealing the identities of Doe and Roe in violation of the protective order. The district court also dismissed the counterclaim with prejudice, notifying Scott that it considered the filing and signing of the counterclaim a violation of Fed.R.Civ.P. 11. The court set a hearing date for the contempt citation and a briefing schedule on the Rule 11 violation. 2

On October 21, 1994, the district court granted Scott an...

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