Attorney for former constable deputy may face penalties for failure to appear

The attorney representing a former staffer suing Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura faces potential sanctions after failing to show up for a judge’s ordered meeting for the parties in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit was filed by Kristy Henderson, a former deputy for Bonaventura. Henderson alleges a variety of misdeeds leading up to her firing that included sexual harassment such as Bonaventura asking her to wear a miniskirt and garters to work. She also alleged Lou Toomin, an employee in the office, pressured her to write a biography for the constable’s reality show in July 2012.

On Friday, her attorney, Andrew Rempfer, didn’t show up for the hearing, and the judge and other attorneys left after waiting nearly an hour, court records show.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe ordered Rempfer to show cause, in writing, why he shouldn’t be sanctioned and forced to pay the costs of attorney fees for the other parties, as well as up to $5,000 in court fines. That’s due by Jan. 17.

Rempfer said an attorney handling the case was out on maternity leave and there was a miscommunication about who would handle the conference.

“When we were alerted our attorney was not present, we immediately contacted the court and I personally drove down towards court,” Rempfer said in a statement. “While driving there, I discovered the court had cancelled the conference.”

Bonaventura was unimpressed by the missed appearance.

“This is a baseless frivolous lawsuit that was filed by former Deputy Henderson in retaliation for her being terminated,” Bonaventura said in an email to the Review-Journal. “This is par for the course, on her part, for no-shows and missed filings.”

Unannounced absences from federal court hearings aren’t new when it comes to lawsuits that have hit the Las Vegas Township Constable’s Office. Bonaventura’s attorney, Robert Pool, didn’t show up for a hearing in July on a separate federal lawsuit involving two former staffers suing Bonaventura. At the time, Pool said he didn’t receive the email with the judge’s order. However, at the judge’s request, the court’s information-technology staff verified that Pool had, indeed, received the order about the scheduled hearing in his email account, court records show.

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.