WHEELING –- Bridgeport radiologist Ray Harron defeated CSX Transportation in a civil suit, but one of his lawyers owes the railroad $3,892.50.
On Sept. 2, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Seibert ordered Elizabeth Johnson of New York to reimburse CSX for the cost of a dispute over a deposition of Harron.
He wrote that Johnson "had no legal basis for her conduct and acted expressly in violation of the federal rules of civil procedure."
Johnson improperly instructed Harron not to answer questions, according to Seibert.
He granted reasonable expenses to CSX for challenging Johnson's conduct, and indicated that he would have sanctioned her if he could have.
"The Court believes that intentional and willful action in blatant violation of the federal rules of civil procedure should be sanctionable," he wrote.
"Failure to sanction only encourages this intentional and willful conduct," he wrote.
"Nonetheless, the Court cannot find any authority that sanctions are appropriate in absence of a violation of a court order," he wrote.
"Therefore, no sanctions will be ordered," he wrote.
Though he singled out Johnson, he awarded expenses against Harron and his counsel.
That would include Harron's local counsel, Jerald Jones of Clarksburg, who pleaded the next day that he shouldn't have to pay.
"Jerald E. Jones and Elizabeth Johnson are not members of the same law firm," he wrote.
CSX's motion to compel answers from Harron did not cite any instance where he instructed Harron not to answer, he wrote.
"Jerald E. Jones did not prepare Dr. Harron's response to plaintiff's motion," he wrote.
Johnson and Jones defended Harron against a claim that he and Pittsburgh lawyers Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond conspired to fabricate an asbestos exposure suit.
Trial would have begun Sept. 15, but on Sept. 1 District Judge Frederick Stamp notified lawyers that he would grant summary judgment to Harron and Peirce.
As of Sept. 9, Stamp had not entered a summary judgment order.
"The Court believes that intentional and willful action in blatant violation of the federal rules of civil procedure should be sanctionable," Seibert wrote.