By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn federal court’s chief judge levied sanctions against an attorney who failed to appear for an oral argument.
Matthew Peck represented members of a Queens Hindu temple in a case involving claims of forced labor. When he failed to appear at oral arguments scheduled for Aug. 13, Judge Carol Amon issued an order to show cause requesting that Peck explain, via writing, his non-appearance.
Peck replied that because of his failure to pay fees to the court database, he was unaware of the scheduled argument. He stated that he would “never again” fail to appear for an oral argument and that, given his “unabashed zeal for live debate,” it would be “silly” to hold him in contempt of court. Amon acquiesced and mailed the new oral argument date.
Peck again failed to appear on Oct. 24, causing much confusion in Amon’s courtroom. The plaintiffs were present, as were Peck’s clients, who informed the court that Peck promised to be in attendance. Amon’s clerks repeatedly tried to contact Peck via phone to no avail.
Frustrated with Peck’s “inexcusable” conduct, Amon issued a sanction of $500 for Peck’s lack of appearance. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows for sanctions to be brought against an attorney who “fails to appear at a scheduling or other pretrial conference."
Amon viewed Peck’s actions as a pure sign of disrespect to the court, his clients and the judicial process. “For the second time, Mr. Peck has wasted the time and flouted the authority of this Court,” Amon said in her contempt order.
Peck has until Nov. 29 to pay the sanction against him.