November 17, 2017 Top Story

Cloudy with a Chance of Sanctions

Court troubled by defendant’s delays, threats, and obfuscation of ESI production

Geoff A. Gannaway

iStockphoto by Getty Images

A California federal magistrate has sanctioned the defendant in an employment discrimination suit for failing to timely collect and produce electronic discovery. The court issued the sanction order upon finding that the defendant had repeatedly delayed production, deleted emails, threatened opposing counsel, and missed court-imposed deadlines.

Clouds on the Horizon: The Court Intervenes and the Defendant Makes Threats

By all initial indications, the parties in Bird v. Wells Fargo expected a fairly routine discovery process. In their initial joint report to the court, the parties indicated that they did not expect "significant electronic discovery issues," and they planned to meet and confer on proposed search terms. That rosy forecast quickly changed. Just before the close of non-expert discovery, the court intervened when it learned that production of electronically stored information (ESI) had not even begun.

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