United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOSEPH H. RODRIGUEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on a motion to enforce an
agreement, between counsel for the parties, which sets forth
a schedule for the payment of the award of attorneys'
fees. On January 30, 2017, the Court awarded attorneys'
fees in favor of Defendants' attorney Richard De Fortuna
in the amount of $20, 952.20. [Dkt. No. 20] Plaintiff's
counsel, Christopher Manganello, and Mr. De Fortuna agreed to
a payment schedule for the remitter of the award of
attorney's fees and memorialized that agreement in a
Joint Schedule for Payment of Award of Counsel Fees
(hereinafter “Joint Schedule”) filed with the
Court on March 6, 2017. [Dkt. No. 37].
Fortuna states that Mr. Manganello has failed to pay under
the terms of the agreement and moves for an Order holding
that Plaintiff's counsel Mr. Manganello is in breach of
the fee agreement and demands a judgment for the remainder of
the unpaid balance of the award of attorneys' fees.
support of his motion, De Fortuna submitted a declaration on
July 29, 2018, which sets forth Mr. Manganello's
delinquencies and breach of his obligations under the terms
of the Joint Schedule. [Dkt. No. 38]. Mr. Manganello's
response to the motion was due on August 21, 2018. On
September 4, 2018, Mr. Manganello filed a request for an
extension of time to oppose the motion. [Dkt. No. 39]. The
Court did not rule on Mr. Manganello's untimely request
and notes that in the many months which have followed his
request, Mr. Manganello has not submitted any response to the
motion. As a result, the Court considers the motion
unopposed. For the reasons stated below, Mr. De Fortuna's
motion for breach of the Joint Schedule is granted.
prosecution of the underlying labor dispute in this case, Mr.
Manganello made numerous requests for extensions of time,
submitted multiple filings after their deadlines had expired,
and continued to pursue this action despite the fact that his
client was able to return to Acme when she produced a
doctor's note clearing her for employment. [Dkt. No.
8-10, 18]. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Defendants and, because of the dilatory tactics and
duplicitous handling of the case by Mr. Manganello, invited
Acme to submit a motion for attorney's fees. During oral
argument on the motion for attorneys' fees, the Court
granted the motion and ordered the parties to submit a fee
payment schedule to the Court [Dkt. No. 20, Order, Jan. 30,
Manganello and Mr. De Fortuna filed the executed Joint
Schedule on February 26, 2018. [Dkt. No. 37]. The
Joint Schedule requires Mr. Manganello to remit the award of
$20, 952.20 to Mr. De Fortuna in twenty monthly payments of
$1000 and one final payment of $952.20. The first payment was
due on March 15, 2018, with every payment thereafter due the
on 15th day of each month. De Fortuna Decl., Joint
Schedule, para. 1, 2. Failure to make a timely payment
constitutes a default and enables Mr. De Fortuna to
immediately move for a judgment in the amount of “the
remaining unpaid amount of the judgment[.]”
Id. at para. 4. In addition, the Joint Schedule
permits Mr. De Fortuna to seek any and all legal fees and
expenses resulting from “any further efforts to enforce
payment of the Court's initial January 30, 2017 Order,
this joint schedule, or any subsequent order of the Court
issued in connection with or furtherance of . . .
Manganello's adherence to, compliance with, or default of
this joint schedule.” Id., para. 5.
to Mr. De Fortuna, Mr. Manganello failed to make the first
payment by March 15, 2018. Declaration of Richard J. De
Fortuna, para. 8. Mr. De Fortuna declares that he
received a payment of $1000 on or about March 22, 2018 and
also received a payment of $1000 for the month of June 2018.
Id. at para. 9, 12. However, Mr. De Fortuna has not
received a payment from Mr. Manganello for the months of
April 2018, May 2018, and all of the months following July
15, 2018. Id., para. 10, 13-14. For these reasons,
Mr. De Fortuna argues that Mr. Manganello is in breach of the
terms of the Joint Schedule and he seeks entry of judgment in
the amount of $18, 952.20, plus post-judgment interest and
Joint Schedule provides an agreed upon timetable for the
payment of the award of attorney's fees in regular,
monthly installments. Joint Schedule, para. 4. Late payments
trigger default and result in the “remaining unpaid
amount of the judgment [becoming] immediately due and owing
in its entirety as of the date of the default.”
Id., para. 4. The Joint Schedule also provides that
the breaching party shall pay “all legal fees and
expenses” incurred the effort to enforce the Joint
Schedule. Id., para. 5.
Manganello has submitted no justification for his failure to
honor the Joint Schedule. The Court accepts Mr. De
Fortuna's Declaration and finds that Mr. Manganello is in
breach of the Joint Schedule. As a result, the Court will
enter judgment against Mr. Manganello for the immediate
payments of the unpaid balance in the amount of $18, 952.20,
plus post-judgment interest dating back to the Court's
initial January 30, 2017 Order. Joint Agreement para. 4, 5.
In addition, Mr. De Fortuna shall submit to the Court an
affidavit detailing the fees and costs associated with
present motion and an Order granting an award in that amount.
Joint Schedule, para. 5.
reasons stated herein, Richard De Fortuna's motion for
default and ...