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Sanctions Ordered when Attorney Misrepresents Computer’s Ability to Cull Data


GTFM, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, 2000 WL 1693615 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 9, 2000)

At a conference with the court, defense counsel made inaccurate representations about defendant’s computer system capabilities, stating there was no way to cull certain data. About a year later, plaintiffs deposed a vice-president in the defendant’s MIS department and discovered that the defendant’s computers were, in fact, capable of providing the information sought by plaintiffs.

The court determined that, “[w]hether or not defendant’s counsel intentionally misled plaintiffs, counsel’s inquiries about defendant’s computer capacity were certainly deficient.” It stated that the vice-president was “an obvious person with whom defendant’s counsel should have reviewed the computer capabilities.” As sanctions, the court ordered the defendant to pay all plaintiffs’ expenses and legal fees unnecessarily expended due to defendant’s failure to make an accurate disclosure of its computer capabilities.