United States District Court, D. Colorado
ESMERALDO VILLANUEVA ECHON, JR., MARIBEL ECHON, and JUSTIN ECHON, Plaintiffs,
WILLIAM SACKETT and LEONIDA SACKETT, Defendants.
A. BRIMMER United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on defendants' filings
entitled “My Witness Needs an Interpreter”
[Docket No. 182] and “Sanction Appeal” [Docket
detailed overview of this case can be found in Magistrate
Judge Nina Y. Wang's recommendation [Docket No. 116] on
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 106],
which was adopted by this Court on November 1, 2017.
See Docket No. 138. Plaintiffs Esmeraldo, Maribel,
and Justin Echon assert claims for breach of contract and
unjust enrichment, as well as violations of the Trafficking
Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the Colorado Minimum
Wage of Workers Act, and the Colorado Wage Claim Act.
See Docket No. 1. Defendants William and Leonida
Sackett have chosen to proceed in this matter without the
benefit of an attorney.
case is presently set for a three-day jury trial beginning on
February 12, 2018. Docket No. 123. On January 26, 2018, this
Court held a trial preparation conference in which it ruled
on a number of pretrial motions filed by plaintiffs.
See Docket No. 181. Among those motions were
plaintiffs' Motions in Limine Nos. 1-2 [Docket
No. 160, 161], which requested that the Court preclude
defendants from introducing at trial evidence inconsistent
with facts previously deemed established, see Docket
No. 160 at 1, and exhibits not disclosed during discovery.
See Docket No. 161 at 1. The Court granted both
motions. See Docket No. 181. In doing so, the Court
relied on earlier orders precluding defendants from offering
evidence not disclosed in discovery, see Docket No.
91 at 16 (magistrate judge recommendation); Docket No. 92
(order adopting recommendation), and deeming certain facts
established for the purposes of the action, see
Docket No. 116 at 11-14, 39 (magistrate judge
recommendation); Docket No. 138 (order adopting
recommendation), as sanctions for defendants' discovery
January 31, 2018, defendants filed two motions entitled
“My Witness Needs an Interpreter” [Docket No.
182] and “Sanction Appeal” [Docket No. 184].
DEFENDANTS' PRO SE STATUS
defendants are proceeding pro se, the Court will construe
their filings liberally. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935
F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). Although it is not clear
what relief defendants are seeking with their most recent
filings, the Court will construe defendant's filing
entitled “My Witness Needs an Interpreter”
[Docket No. 182] as a motion seeking a court-appointed
interpreter for defendants' trial witness, Laurel Echon.
The Court will construe defendants' “Sanction
Appeal” [Docket No. 184] as an objection to that
portion of the Court's January 26, 2018 order [Docket No.
181] granting plaintiffs' Motions in Limine Nos.
1-2 [Docket Nos. 160, 161].
Request for an Interpreter
request a Tagalog interpreter for a witness they intend to
call at trial. Docket No. 182. Defendants do not explain why
they are unable to procure an interpreter themselves. Nor do
they cite any authority for the proposition that the Court is
required to appoint an interpreter in a civil case. There is
no federal rule or statute requiring a court to appoint an
interpreter for a pro se litigant in a civil case not brought
by the United States. See, e.g., Gonzalez v.
Bopari, 2012 WL 6569776, at *1 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 2012)
(denying pro se litigant's request for interpreter in
civil rights action); Herrera v. Zavares, No.
09-cv-01229-MSK-KLM, 2010 WL 3853312, at *13 (D. Colo. Sept.
28, 2010) (noting that “there is no statutory
obligation for the Court to supply an interpreter to a civil
litigant” and that the decision to do so is
“confined to the sound discretion of the Court”);
see also 28 U.S.C. § 1827(b) (providing that
the “Director [of the Administrative Office of the
United States Courts] shall prescribe . . . persons who may
serve as certified interpreters . . . for . . . persons who
speak only or primarily a language other than the English
language, in judicial proceedings instituted by the
United States” (emphasis added); Fed.R.Civ.P.
43(d) (providing that “court may appoint an
interpreter of its choosing” (emphasis added)); 5 Guide
to Judiciary Policy § 260 (2017) (“Interpreter
services needed to assist parties to civil proceedings not
instituted by the United States . . . are the responsibility
of the parties to the action . . . .”). Because
defendants have failed to justify their request for a
court-appointed interpreter, their request will be denied.
Objection to Court's Rulings on Plaintiffs' Motions
their filing entitled “Sanction Appeal, ”
defendants appear to object to that portion of the
Court's January 26, 2018 oral ruling granting
plaintiffs' motions in limine to preclude
defendants from introducing certain evidence at trial
pursuant to the Court's prior sanctions orders.
See Docket No. 184. Defendants argue that the
Court's rulings are unfair because (1) defendants
disclosed all information requested of them during discovery
and (2) defendants were not familiar with the meaning and
purpose of plaintiffs' motions in limine.
Id. at 2-3.
Court finds that defendants' first argument is untimely.
The Court's rulings merely enforce orders previously
issued by this Court. On January 23, 2017, the magistrate
judge recommended that the Court grant plaintiffs'
request to preclude defendants from “offering evidence
that [had] not been disclosed in discovery” as a
sanction for defendants' repeated violation of the
discovery rules. Docket No. 91 at 16. Defendants never filed
an objection to the magistrate judge's recommendation,
see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (permitting party to
file written objections to magistrate judge recommendation
within fourteen days), and the recommendation was adopted by
this Court on February 24, 2017. Docket No. 92. The
Court's January 26, 2018 order granting plaintiffs'
motion to exclude all exhibits defendants failed to disclose
during discovery [Docket No. 161] enforces the Court's
February 24, 2017 order. To the extent defendants argue that
this is ...