975 F.2d 916 (1st Cir. 1992), 92-1301, Vargas v. Gonzalez

Docket Nº:92-1301.
Citation:975 F.2d 916
Party Name:Pedro C. VARGAS, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Leonardo GONZALEZ, et al., Defendants, Appellees.
Case Date:August 17, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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975 F.2d 916 (1st Cir. 1992)

Pedro C. VARGAS, Plaintiff, Appellant,


Leonardo GONZALEZ, et al., Defendants, Appellees.

No. 92-1301.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 17, 1992

Submitted July 15, 1992.

Hector Gonzalez Lopez and Feijoo's Law Offices, on brief, for plaintiff, appellant.

Jose A. Cestero and Cesar R. Miranda Law Offices, and Anabelle Rodriguez and Reina Colon de Rodriguez, Office of the Sol. Gen., on brief, for defendants, appellees.

Before SELYA, CYR and BOUDIN, Circuit Judges.


In June 1991, attorneys for all of the parties to this case failed to appear for a hearing on a motion to amend the complaint. The district court fined the lawyers involved. In his motion to reconsider the sanction, the plaintiff's attorney, Hector Gonzalez Lopez, offered apologies and an explanation for his truancy. He also informed the court that he would be absent from Puerto Rico during the month of July, 1991. Accordingly, he asked the court to reschedule a forthcoming status conference from July 16 "until August." The court complied with Attorney Gonzalez' request. In an order dated July 12, 1991, the district court (a) removed the sanctions and (b) rescheduled the status conference for August 9, 1992.

Gonzalez did not appear at the conference on August 9. The district court, taking into account Gonzalez' previous dereliction, decided to dismiss the case for failure to prosecute. The judgment of dismissal was dated August 30 but was not entered on the docket until September 3, at which time (the docket indicates) copies of the judgment were sent to all parties.

The court next heard from Attorney Gonzalez on September 9, when he filed an "informative" motion requesting an extension of time to respond to certain papers the defendants had filed over the summer. The motion was mooted by, yet did not mention, the dismissal entered six days earlier. In an order entered October 7, the district court denied the motion for an extension and, referring to the now-month-old dismissal, expressed its exasperation at Attorney Gonzalez' inability to "read the handwriting on the wall."

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The October 7 order brought a response from Attorney Gonzalez, filed on October 18 and captioned "Motion to Amend Judgment of August 30th, 1991 and to Other Extremes." In this motion, Gonzalez offered excuses both for his failure...

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