Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Discovery Abuses Warrant Monetary Sanctions Against Defendant and Lead Counsel

Following settlement of the case, the court granted in part plaintiff's motion to find defendants in contempt for failing to comply with court's order compelling further document production and supplemental disclosures and imposed monetary sanctions, jointly and severally, against defendants and their lead counsel. "Whether the non-infringing alternatives information would have decidedly impacted Plaintiffs case is unimportant; the Court's concerns are Defendant's noncompliance and lack of transparency. . . . It is clear that Defendant failed to disclose crucial documents 'at the right time,' or indeed, at all, before the Court demanded an explanation for Defendant's actions. . . . Trial-related sanctions are inappropriate now. However, the Court finds that other sanctions are warranted 'to ensure the proper functioning of judicial process.'. . . It is impossible from the record to determine who among Defendant's employees and lead counsel were at fault for the discovery violations and to what degree. It is not the Court's duty to unravel the details and determine the actors' degrees of responsibility. What occurred is, at bottom, sanctionable conduct for which Defendant and its principal counsel are both responsible. . . . There was apparently a disconnect among Defendant's lead counsel: some counsel were more successful in locating documents than others, and there may have been disagreement regarding which documents were discoverable. There may well have been a similar disconnect between Defendant and its lead counsel. Significant discovery abuses resulted from these miscommunications. . . . The Court hereby imposes sanctions jointly and severally against Defendant . . . and its principal firm . . . in an amount approved by the Court."

Vir2us, Inc. v. Invincea, Inc. et al, 2-15-cv-00162 (VAED January 27, 2017, Order) (Morgan, SJ)

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