Untimely and Piecemeal Defense Production Leads to Attorney Fee Award
Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions due to Defendants’ continued failure to fully and completely respond to Plaintiff’s document requests in Logtale, Ltd. v. Ikor, Inc. et al., No. C-11-5452 EDL(DMR) (N.D. Cal. Feb. 11, 2015). Plaintiff filed its first motion to compel after Defendant produced an admittedly late and incomplete production. The court granted Plaintiff $1,400 in attorney fees and granted a new discovery deadline.
Defendant again responded late to the new deadline with an incomplete defense production. Plaintiff filed a second motion to compel, and the court awarded an additional $5, 200 in attorney fees. The court extended the discovery deadline again and raised concerns regarding the adequacy of Defendant’s search for responsive documents. Defendant continued to make numerous piecemeal discovery productions after the new discovery deadline.
Plaintiff eventually filed a motion for sanctions based on the late and incomplete production. The court ordered Defendant to file sworn affidavits by their technology expert regarding the searches used to produce the documents. Defendant continued making additional document productions.
Plaintiff filed a second motion for sanctions alleging spoliation of evidence. Defendant then made two additional productions. The court denied the motion but admonished Defendants for still not producing all discovery. Shortly thereafter, Defendants claimed that they had finally provided complete responses, yet they later produced an additional three sets of documents. Plaintiff then filed for terminating sanctions of Defendants’ counter-claims based on Defendants’ repeated late productions in violation of court orders or, in the alternative, for additional monetary sanctions.
Plaintiff also sought sanctions because Defendants had produced documents in PDF format without metadata rather than native format and had failed to provide information to identify parent/child family relationships among the documents. Defendants countered that they had no obligation to produce in any particular format because Plaintiff’s RFPs did not specifically request production in a certain format. The court agreed that without an express request for formatting and without evidence that the parties engaged in meet and confer efforts regarding document production format, Defendants did not have to produce the documents in the way that Plaintiff wanted them.
The court ultimately denied entering terminating sanctions against Defendant, but it did order Defendant and/or defense counsel pay additional monetary sanctions of $44,145 in attorney fees based on Defendant’s repeated failure to follow court orders.