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Sep 1, 2022

No sanctions for disclosure of psychiatric information

Although an attorney offered no legitimate reason for why he included details about the psychiatric condition of his client’s ex-girlfriend on the public docket, and the level of detail was seemingly designed to embarrass her, because the attorney moved to redact the details in question and responded to the court’s show cause order, he was […]

Sep 1, 2022

Former university vice president destroyed evidence

Where a former vice president of communications and public engagement for Liberty University failed to preserve his iPhone and note taking account after he sued Liberty University for violating Title VII, the evidence and testimony showed he did so with the purpose of depriving Liberty of the use of that evidence in this litigation. The […]

Jul 28, 2022

Post-judgment discovery failures net sanctions

Where defendants failed to comply with post-judgment discovery orders, and failed to produce the documents even after promising to do so at a February 2022 hearing, they were adjudged in contempt and daily fines were imposed. Background This matter is before the court for consideration of a show-cause order entered by the magistrate judge. The […]

Jun 24, 2022

Rule 11 doesn’t extend to notice of dismissal

Where defendants’ attorneys argued a statement in a notice of voluntary dismissal filed by plaintiffs’ attorneys violated Rule 11, their motion for sanctions was denied because Rule 11’s “later advocating” provision did not extend to the dismissal notice. Background The original complaint alleged a RICO conspiracy in which one subset of the defendants provided funding […]

Jun 23, 2022

Evidence supports civil contempt finding

Where a jury found two companies’ statements about probiotics constituted false advertising, the district court enjoined them from making certain statements about the products. But when they violated that order, the court did not err in holding the companies in civil contempt. Background Claudio De Simone helped develop an eight-strain probiotic, which he patented in […]

Jun 3, 2022

Fabricated evidence results in dismissal

Where a company suing for trademark infringement willfully fabricated evidence to support its claims, resulting in prejudice to the defendant and the judicial process, the lawsuit was dismissed and the defendants were awarded their attorneys’ fees and costs spent investigating and litigating the misconduct. Background The defendants in this trademark infringement case have moved for […]

Lawyer speaking in courtroom
May 2, 2022

Sanctions vacated: Defamation, tortious interference claims not frivolous

Where a claimant’s defamation suit was dismissed with a warning that further frivolous pleadings might justify sanctions, her subsequently filed claims based on new conduct were not frivolous and did not warrant sanctions. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Eastern District of Virginia’s dismissal of the subsequent complaint and vacated the sanctions […]

Apr 27, 2022

Sanctions vacated against plaintiff and attorney

Where the district court sanctioned a woman and her attorney for filing a ­complaint based upon allegedly privileged communications, but the privilege applied only to a defamation claim and not a claim for tortious interference, and the district court failed to make the initial finding that the communications were privileged, the sanctions are vacated. Background […]

Apr 19, 2022

Former employee sanctioned for destroying documents

Where a former employee accused of improperly competing with his employer destroyed electronic documents that he had an obligation to preserve, and the documents could not be restored or replaced, an adverse inference instruction will be given to the jury. Background GMS Industrial Supply Inc. is an industrial sales company. GMS hired Westly L. Greer […]

Mar 8, 2022

Spoliation motion denied where ESI not lost

Where the plaintiff alleged defendants failed to preserve electronically stored information, or ESI, but there was no showing that they failed to produce relevant ESI or that it had been lost, the motion is denied. Background This matter comes before the court on plaintiff’s eleventh-hour motion for spoliation inferences. Plaintiff contends that defendants failed to […]

Dec 6, 2021

Record supports sanctions ordered by magistrate judge

Where a party demonstrated a lack of good faith by repeatedly violating the court’s discovery orders, its conduct caused its own counsel to make misleading statements and obstruct meaningful discovery, and the defendants suffered prejudice, a magistrate judge’s sanctions order was affirmed. Background In response to a renewed motion for sanctions filed by defendants Germaine […]

Dec 6, 2021

Discovery failures result in default judgment on liability

Where a defense contractor that was sued for employment discrimination failed to make its initial disclosures and failed to respond to discovery despite a court order, and these actions prejudiced the former employee, a default judgment was entered on liability. Background Blueforce Inc. is an international defense contractor that contracted with the United States Air […]

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