No more document dumping.

In Kayne v. The Grande Holdings Limited, the Second District affirmed a $74,809 sanction order by Judge Mary Ann Murphy.  The defendant produced 30,600 pages of documents in three tranches, on August 20, October 3 and November 21, 2008.

Plaintiffs complained that all but 28 pages were documents which defendant knew plaintiffs already had as a result of discovery demands in other lawsuits against defendants. Plaintiffs also asserted that entire categories of documents, such as internal financial and accounting records, own ledgers, journals and bank records reflecting transactions were not produced.

Because the defendant neither produced additional documents nor provided an explanation of its efforts to locate the requested documents, the Plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the prior discovery order.  While the motion was pending, Defendant represented that it would comply with the discovery order and produce additional documents which it had located. In reliance on that representation, plaintiffs agreed to take the motion to enforce off calendar.

Defendant thereafter produced approximately 60,000 additional pages of documents in April and May of 2009, which it stated it had only recently uncovered. These consisted of approximately 5,000 pages of a partial computerized general ledger, as well as 55,000 pages of financial, accounting, banking and transaction records, which plaintiffs described as being in complete disorder.  Plaintiff requested that label the documents in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.280, subdivision (a), which provides:  “(a) Any documents produced in response to a demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling shall either be produced as they are kept in the usual course of business, or be organized and labeled to correspond with the categories in the demand.”  When defendants refused to comply, plaintiffs hired three attorneys to organize the documents by category and date, so that they could use them to prepare for upcoming depositions of defendant’s witnesses.

In August 2009, plaintiffs filed a motion to enforce the July 21, 2008 discovery order. Plaintiffs sought $74,809 in sanctions under section 2023.010, which the Superior Court granted, and which the Court of Appeal affirmed.