Defendant and Counsel Ordered to Pay Sanctions for Repeated Refusal to Comply with Discovery Demands

by ASchlossberg on September 5, 2017

As litigation proceeds from the initial pleadings stage to the commencement of discovery, parties often find themselves facing an opponent who is less than willing to comply with fair and reasonable demands to produce records and information that are necessary and relevant to the action.  Indeed the frequent reluctance of judges to punish parties for their failure to cooperate breeds non-compliance.  This can often leave a litigant in the unenviable position of either having to accept the fact that the records will never be produced or expending time and resources to move the court to compel compliance.  This is the exact position in which the plaintiff in Paul Todd Inc. v. Gao, NYLJ 1202793938491, at *1 (Sup. Ct. N. Co. 2017) found herself.  After obtaining a court order directing one of the defendants to appear for a deposition, defendant continued refused to appear and, according to plaintiff, “engaged in willful and contumacious behavior frustrating the discovery process” thus causing plaintiff to incur further costs.

Finding that both defendant and defendant’s counsel had willfully and continuously failed to comply with the court’s directives and the rules of discovery, Judge Feinman ruled that “should this Court only resort to rescheduling the deposition of [defendant], it would only reward counsel for defendant’s contempt and violation of this Court’s prior orders.”  Accordingly, Judge Feinman issued an order directing counsel for defendant to pay $1,000.00 as sanctions to the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection, defendant to pay $250.00 as sanctions to plaintiff’s counsel, defendant to comply with all outstanding discovery requests or be precluded from offering any testimony or evidence at the trial with regard to any item of discovery not provided and defendant to appear for deposition at the court.  As more judges hold parties accountable, we likely will see a more streamlined discovery process resulting in the reduction of costs and the prioritization of cases.

The Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg, Esq., P.L.L.C.

(This writing is for general information purposes only, should not be construed as legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship)

Aaron Schlossberg focuses on complex commercial and insurance coverage matters involving corporate clients, entrepreneurs and individual policyholders. Mr. Schlossberg drafts and negotiates high-level contract documents and appears frequently in state and federal courts throughout New York State. Mr. Schlossberg earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from The Johns Hopkins University and his Juris Doctorate Degree from the George Washington University Law School. Mr. Schlossberg gained invaluable insight during his post-graduate judicial clerkship and significant experience as an associate with two midtown Manhattan law firms prior to founding the Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg, P.C. in June 2012. Mr. Schlossberg is a published author and a seasoned presenter. He is fluent in Spanish, conversational in French and has basic knowledge of Mandarin Chinese and Hebrew. Mr. Schlossberg is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is admitted to the following courts: New York State, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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