Archive: February 19, 2010

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Court Sanctions Plaintiff for Accessing Password-Protected Documents and Other Violations, Reduces Sanction based on Behavior of Plaintiff’s Counsel and Defendant

Court Sanctions Plaintiff for Accessing Password-Protected Documents and Other Violations, Reduces Sanction based on Behavior of Plaintiff’s Counsel and Defendant

Lawson v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 2009 WL 5842136 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 16, 2009);  Lawson v. Sun Microsystems, Inc., 2010 WL 503054 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 8, 2010)

Where plaintiff accessed privileged, password-protected documents in defendant’s production, “carelessly” produced poor and incomplete copies of relevant taped conversations, and intentionally lied regarding taped conversations in deposition, the magistrate judge declined to recommend dismissal but recommended monetary sanctions instead.  The amount of sanctions recommended was reduced by 25% upon the magistrate judge’s finding that plaintiff’s counsel mitigated plaintiff’s violations by ignoring plaintiff’s emails regarding the password-protected documents.  The magistrate judge also found plaintiff’s “improprieties” mitigated “by the part [the defendant] and its counsel played in creating this perfect storm of a disaster” and reduced the sanction an additional 25%.  While the magistrate judge recommended plaintiff’s counsel be ordered to pay monetary sanctions equal to a 25% reduction in plaintiff’s maximum sanction, the district court declined to adopt that recommendation.  The recommendation was otherwise adopted.

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