Wednesday, July 11, 2012

“Consistently Dilatory and Incomplete Responses” to Discovery Warrant Monetary, but not Terminating, Sanctions

The court granted defendants' motion for monetary sanctions for plaintiff's persistent discovery failures, but denied plaintiff's request for a terminating sanction. "[P]laintiff acted improperly in (1) failing to preserve evidence stored on . . . computers and cell phones, (2) failing to produce promptly and in good faith all responsive documents in the course of discovery, and (3) neglecting to produce as many as 160 additional responsive documents by the court-imposed . . . deadline. . . . [P]laintiff argues not unreasonably that defendants’ prejudice is minimized by the fact that many of the documents produced late appear to be relevant primarily, if not exclusively, to the issue of damages or the value of the patent, rather than infringement, patent validity, or other proper subject of a motion for summary judgment. . . . However, the relative lack of prejudice is counterbalanced by plaintiff’s apparently blasé approach, and its serial failure to timely produce relevant documents. . . . Plaintiff has not engaged in gross discovery violations, but its consistently dilatory and incomplete responses to defendants’ formal discovery requests demonstrate a lack of respect for the process. Plaintiff’s conduct is, therefore, worthy of sanction, although not the drastic sanction of striking part or all of the complaint."

NorthMobileTech LLC v. Simon Property Group, Inc., 3-11-cv-00287 (WIWD July 6, 2012, Order) (Conley, J.).

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