Brief Fact Summary.
Lee sought sanctions when Walters and their attorney disobeyed and ignored four court orders and discovery requests.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Sanctions can be applied to an attorney or party who willfully and repeatedly refuses to comply with discovery requests and order.
A motion is substantially justified if there is a genuine dispute, or if reasonable people could differ as to the appropriateness of the contested action.View Full Point of Law
Lee sued Walters and sought production of documents during the discovery process. The defendants failed to write a response and produced the documents only after court intervention. The defendants failed to appear at depositions and the defendant’s attorney failed to seek a protective order. The defendants and their attorney disobeyed and ignored four court orders and discovery requests.
Whether sanctions can be applied to an attorney or party who willfully and repeatedly refuses to comply with discovery requests and orders?
Yes. Sanctions are proper under FRCP 37(d) and FRCP (37(a)(4) because Walters did not provide explanation regarding their failure to provide written responses, their belated response to produce documents, and the plaintiffs had to file a motion to compel when the defendants failed to comply. Sanctions are not appropriate under FRCP 26(g) because Walters did not file any discovery responses.
FRCP 37(d) allows any court to apply sanctions to a defendant who: (1) fails to appear at a deposition, (2) fails to provide a response to interrogatories, (3) and offer written responses to production requests.