Archive: February 8, 2013

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Court Awards Sanctions for Discovery Violations, Including Wrongful Certification Pursuant to Rule 26(g)

Court Awards Sanctions for Discovery Violations, Including Wrongful Certification Pursuant to Rule 26(g)

Branhaven LLC v. Beeftek, Inc., —F.R.D.—, 2013 WL 388429 (D. Md. Jan. 4, 2013)

In this case, the court imposed sanctions for discovery violations, including wrongful certification pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g) and violations of Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b) addressing the appropriate format of production. Notably, the award was made jointly and severally against Plaintiff and counsel.

In response to each of Defendants’ Requests for Production, Plaintiff stated: “[Branhaven] will make the responsive documents available for inspection and copying at a mutually convenient time.”  The responses were signed by Plaintiff’s counsel pursuant to Rule 26(g), thus certifying that “the lawyer has made a reasonable effort to assure that the client has provided all the information and documents available to him that are responsive to the discovery demand.”  At the time of the response and certification, however, counsel had done little more than forward the requests to his client and had not yet been provided with any discovery responses.  Indeed, several of the primary sources for the ultimately produced data—two email servers and two laptops—had not yet been accessed, let alone searched.  Moreover, “counsel essentially admitted” that his response was intended to “buy time and technically comply with Rule 34” and also admitted that the “response was essentially meaningless in terms of identification and production of responsive documents.”

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