Archive: January 8, 2008

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Court Sanctions Qualcomm $8,568,633, Orders Certain In-House and Former Outside Counsel to Participate in “Case Review and Enforcement of Discovery Obligations” Program, and Refers Investigation of Possible Ethical Violations to California State Bar

Court Sanctions Qualcomm $8,568,633, Orders Certain In-House and Former Outside Counsel to Participate in “Case Review and Enforcement of Discovery Obligations” Program, and Refers Investigation of Possible Ethical Violations to California State Bar

Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., 2008 WL 66932 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 7, 2008)

On Monday, January 7, 2008, United States Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major issued her Order on Broadcom’s Motion for Sanctions related to Qualcomm’s failure to produce tens of thousands of documents that Broadcom had requested in discovery.  (A copy of the January 7 order downloaded from Westlaw is available here.)  Additional background regarding the sanctions motion is available in our previous posts on the case on September 20, 2007, August 29, 2007 and August 13, 2007.

In this most recent order, the judge ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom $8,568,633.24 for its “monumental and intentional discovery violation,” representing all of Broadcom’s attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in the litigation.  (Because the trial judge had already awarded these costs and fees to Broadcom in its Exceptional Case Order, the court directed that Qualcomm receive credit toward this penalty for any money it paid to Broadcom to satisfy the exceptional case award.)

The court also found that six of Qualcomm’s outside attorneys “assisted Qualcomm in committing this incredible discovery violation by intentionally hiding or recklessly ignoring relevant documents, ignoring or rejecting numerous warning signs that Qualcomm’s document search was inadequate, and blindly accepting Qualcomm’s unsupported assurances that its document search was adequate.”  The court observed that these six attorneys “then used the lack of evidence to repeatedly and forcefully make false statements and arguments to the court and jury.”  As such, the court found that the attorneys had violated their discovery obligations and also may have violated their ethical duties.  Accordingly, the court concluded that sanctions against the six named outside attorneys were also warranted.

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