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During my seminar on “Sanctions Denied,” I was asked how do you handle discovery abuse when it is part of a deep pocket defendant’s litigation strategy.  His story went like this:

Plaintiff’s counsel had been to court several times on motions to compel documents and motions to compel further documents from an international Corporation.  The court’s most recent order was that the documents were to be served two weeks before the corporation’s person most knowledgeable depositions were to take place in London.   Instead defendant produced 30,000 documents on a CD less than 24 hours before the London depositions were to begin.   Plaintiff counsel went forward with the depositions as trial was in a month and his client could not afford for the lawyer to go to London another time.  Plaintiff counsel expressed his frustrations that even though the court gave him $6000 in sanctions he was severely handicapped in his preparation for the depositions and it impacted on what evidence he could obtain before trial.

Even though this is an extreme example, it is not unusual.  The real question is what could he have done and what should you do if you find yourself in this situation.

Continue Reading When Discovery Abuse is a Trial Strategy

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In most personal injury actions the plaintiff is served with a Notice for an Independent Medical Examination. It has become so commonplace that no one really thinks twice about the demand. However, there are a few requirements to this discovery device that defendant must comply with in order to perfect the request. Continue Reading I’ve Got This Doctor You Gotta See!

tank.jpgThere are three motions that you can bring–(1) Motion to Compel, (2) Motion to Compel Further Responses, and (3) Motion to Have Admissions Deemed Admitted.  All of them have their place in your discovery plan but two of them–Motion to Compel Further Responses and Motions to Have Matters Deemed Admitted must be in your arsenal.  Though they appear to be the same motions you would use for interrogatories, inspection demands, and depositions there are a few noteworthy twists and turns.

Continue Reading Request for Admissions-THE MOTIONS

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Attorneys easily spew out the objection “the information you are seeking is not relevant to the subject matter of the litigation” as easily as they say “Good morning.”  If you are the propounding party your reaction is probably to be to yell out “It is too relevant!” because it doesn’t even appear that the responding party actually thought it through before spewing out the objection.   But what exactly is relevancy?  It seems to be a nebulous term that invokes images of catching clouds with your hands or like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography “I know it when I see it”?

Continue Reading It Is Too Relevant!

Boxing Women.jpgYou have been served with the Motion to Compel Further Responses with a Separate Statement of Items in Dispute (pdf) the size of your fist and your response is due in two weeks.  Now what do you do? First, take a deep breath.  This is the time you decide when to “hold them and when to fold them” because how you respond may end up setting the tone between you and opposing counsel for the entire case.   

Look at the Separate Statement of Items in Dispute (pdf) and determine whether or not you have any garbage objections.  If you do, offer to respond to those interrogatories, requests for admissions and/or requests for productions of documents by a date no later than when your opposition is due.

Continue Reading GAME ON-The Opposition

Lawer with Books.jpg Discovery motions are the banes of most attorneys’ existence and they are often relegated to the newbie in the office to prepare.  Young associates as well as other attorneys struggle on what needs to be in the papers and exactly how to convince the court that they should win.     

With the courts’ having budgetary problems and staff shortages, it is in your best interests to make it real clear to the court (1) what has happened; (2) what you want the court to do; and (3)  why you are entitled to the discovery and sanctions in a succinct fashion.  

Continue Reading What Should Your Discovery Motions Look Like?

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When I started this blog I asked fellow attorneys what issues they would like me to address.  I received this response from a lawyer in San Francisco: 

Key problem – judges that won’t crack down on parties that lodge bogus objections and don’t answer interrogs, and object to discovery demands that are straight forward. Amount of sanctions awarded is usually pitiful. 

Continue Reading SANCTIONS–DENIED!!!