On January 15, 2013, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted a motion to dismiss filed by MGO attorneys Ernie Trakas and Betsey Helfrich on behalf of firm client Phelps County Bank (“PCB”). The case, Steelman v. Phelps Co. Bank, 4:12-cv-00141, filed by Connie Steelman, alleged that the bank had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) because, as a place of public accommodation, its facility was not accessible and did not comply with ADA requirements.
Mr. Trakas and Ms. Helfrich were aggressive in their representation of PCB, insisting that the Steelman participate in court ordered alternative dispute resolution, respond to discovery and make herself available for deposition. After the plaintiff had failed to comply with several court orders and failed to appear for her deposition, Trakas and Helfrich filed a motion to dismiss and requested that the court order the plaintiff to reimburse PCB for all its attorney fees. In granting PCB’s motion, the Court stated “Here, dismissal is warranted based upon Plaintiff’s consistent and willful failure to comply with this Court’s orders and the discovery process….. the Court does not find any grounds to establish Plaintiff’s failure to prosecute is substantially justified, or that an award of attorney fees is unjust…. Defendant’s Motion for an award of attorney fees is GRANTED, and Plaintiff shall pay Defendant the sum of $18,607.60.”