Court Sanctions Attorneys for "Scorched-Earth Approach to Discovery"
Alford v. Rents, 2010 WL 4222922 (S.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2010). In this employment discrimination litigation, the court reviewed the magistrate judge's recommendation advocating sanctions against both defendants' counsels individually for discovery misconduct. Upon review of the record, the court found substantial and repeated violations of both the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct based on the filing of over 14 discovery-related motions, incessant "accusation-laced, uncivil correspondence," the need for judicial supervision of depositions and the appointment of a special master to decide discovery disputes. In light of counsels' "scorched-earth approach to discovery" in which the attorneys "embarked upon a course entailing a conscious effort to maximize litigation and to make certain [it] was as time-consuming, difficult, unpleasant, and expensive as possible," the court adopted the magistrate judge's recommendation and held the two attorneys personally liable for sanctions in the amount of $3,750 each, to be paid without reimbursement from the law firms or clients.