Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., No. 05cv1958-B (BLM) (S.D. Cal. Apr. 2, 2010)
Apparently bringing an end to one of the best known e-discovery sagas since the 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules, United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Major has declined to impose sanctions against the previously sanctioned Qualcomm attorneys absent evidence of bad faith.
On January 7, 2008, Magistrate Judge Major issued an order granting in part defendant’s motion for sanctions upon finding that the plaintiff, Qualcomm, intentionally withheld thousands of documents and that six attorneys “had assisted Qualcomm in withholding the critical documents by failing to conduct a reasonable inquiry into the adequacy of Qualcomm’s document production and by ignoring warning signs, which indicated that the document search was not thorough and that Qualcomm’s documents production was not complete.” The sanctioned attorneys objected. Thereafter, U.S. District Court Judge Rudi Brewster determined that the sanctioned attorneys “had a right to defend themselves” and “should not be prevented from defending their conduct by the attorney-client privilege of Qualcomm and its employees and representatives.” Finding the self-defense exception to the attorney-client privilege applicable, the court lifted the sanctions and remanded the case to the Magistrate Judge for additional consideration. A ccordingly, between March 2008 and the present, the previously sanctioned attorneys undertook significant efforts to defend their actions. As a result of those efforts, Magistrate Judge Major has now declined to impose sanctions: