Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff sued Defendant based on product liability. During depositions in the case, one of the Defendant’s lawyers repeatedly interrupted the depositions with unnecessary objections, most of which were meritless and ended up influencing how the witnesses responded to the questions.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Under FRCP 37(b), courts have wide latitude in determining sanctions for discovery violations.
Under FRCP 37(b), does a court have wide latitude in determining sanctions for discovery violations?
Yes. The court was well within its discretion to impose outside-the-box sanctions, such as requiring the Defendant’s counsel to write and produce a training video that explains the holding of this opinion and providing specific steps lawyers must take to comply with the opinion.
Under FRCP 37(b), courts have wide latitude in determining sanctions for discovery violations. Sanctions for discovery violations should be imposed with the goal of deterring future discovery violations. Here, the number of meritless objections made during the depositions was shocking. These objections, coaching, and interruptions impeded, delayed, and frustrated the fair examination of witnesses in these depositions. A more unconventional sanction than a monetary sanction is more likely to deter future violations. Therefore, as a sanction, the lawyer that made the objections must write and produce a training video that would explain the holding of this opinion and provide specific steps lawyers must take to comply with the holding in future depositions in any federal and state court. The video must state that it was produced pursuant to sanctions issued by a federal court. Once approved by the court, the video would be distributed to all lawyers that engage in federal or state ligation and practice in the same firm as the lawyer who made the objections.