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Yes, a judge can require anyone to attend a case that they choose to require. It is rare for them to force a plaintiff, or a defendant, to attend but it isn't unheard of. It will be a part of their inherent powers.
They would have to serve the defendant with a subpoena or an order to appear to have it enforceable. I have also seen judges grant a default judgment against a party who has been ordered to appear and did not.
My experience is about the same as yours although the board certification is in a different area. However, the amount that you placed on the question doesn't justify the time and experience required to do the research required to find case law.
The LeBlanc case you cite isn't on point since it addresses a question you didn't ask.
I'll opt out and let someone else do the research if they choose to do so for this amount. With your experience you should recognize the difference between what LeBlanc addresses and the question you asked as well as recognizing the extent to which a judge's inherent powers stretch.
There are other experts online who do a lot of research and should pick up.