Brief Fact Summary.
The court found that Qualcomm Inc. actively concealed information during discovery and trial when 21 emails address to Joint Video Team email groups were discovered among Qualcomm Inc. during cross examination.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Each party to a suit has a duty to comply with discovery requests, including requests for electronic documents.
Notably, sanctions may be imposed even for negligent failure to provide discovery.View Full Point of Law
Qualcomm Inc. (Qualcomm) brought suit against Broadcom Corp. (Broadcom) for alleging patent infringement. Broadcom alleged an affirmative defense in it’s answer claiming that the patents were unenforceable due to waiver, based on Qualcomm’s participation in the Joint Video Team (JVT). Qualcomm denied their involvement with JVT despite 21 emails addressed to JVT email groups on one Qualcomm employee’s email discovered during cross-examination. The court found that Qualcomm actively concealed information during discovery and trial.
Whether each party to a suit has a duty to comply with discovery requests, including requests for electronic documents?
Yes. The attorneys are referred to California state bar for sanctions and attorney’s fees are awarded to Broadcom. Qualcomm should have known about the suppressed emails and their attorney’s were experienced. The fact that Qualcomm’s attorney’s did not locate the emails contradicting their claim until after litigation is suspicious, because many of the emails were drafted by Qualcomm employees, just as the emails used to support litigation.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 26(g) places an affirmative duty on parties in trial to engage in prediscovery in a responsible manner. In addition to FRCP 26(g), the court inherently possesses the power to impose sanctions on those who abuse discovery.