Case Law

Failure to Abide by Court’s Discovery Order Leads to Sanctions

California

Bird v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113455 (E.D. Cal. July 20, 2017) In this case, the plaintiff moved the court to compel discovery and sanction in part the defendant for failure to comply with a court’s discovery order. The defendant admitted that it failed to comply with numerous court orders pertaining to discovery. To defend the non-compliance, the defendant argued that the process of reviewing, redacting and producing electronically stored information to the plaintiff required more time and that it was unable to produce any documents until the process was finished. To determine if sanctions were appropriate, the court turned to FRCP 37(b)(2)(A). The court noted the history of non-compliance, as well as the defendant’s lack of any voluntary indication of compliance without the plaintiff filing a motion to compel and obtaining a court order. The court held that the defendant’s non-compliance resulted in prejudice to the plaintiff because of the inability to prosecute this case, along with substantial attorney fees. Under Rule 37(b)(2)(A), the court held that it declined to impose several of the allowable sanctions because the defendant had finally complied with its discovery obligations. However, the court stated that a “court cannot let the failure to abide by a clear court order go without any sanctions.” Thus, the court ordered the defendant to pay fifty percent of the reasonable costs and attorney fees that were associated with the violated discovery order.

Keywords: discovery deadline, discovery order, failure to comply, sanctions