Discovery: Sanctions

Baldwin v. Old Republic Ins. Co. [06/21/12] 2012 MTWCC 20 Where an insurer blamed a six-month delay in responding to Petitioner’s discovery requests on difficulties the insurer encountered with the third-party adjusters it hired, the insurer has made its problem the Petitioner’s problem.  Petitioner is entitled to her reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in pursuing a motion to compel responses to simple interrogatories which should have been easy to answer by looking at the claim file.

Re: John David Miller - The St. Paul Travelers Companies Inc. v. Liberty Northwest Ins. Co. [10/26/07] 2007 MTWCC 44 Where Respondent objected to or provided incomplete responses to Petitioner’s requests for production and interrogatory regarding a complete claims file, including, but not limited to all claims correspondence, claims adjusting notes, and communications with and between Respondent’s medical director, the Court found Respondent’s assertion that the requests were irrelevant and not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence to be unreasonable and awarded attorney fees and costs.
Householder v. Republic Indemnity [5/03/01] 2001 MTWCC 18 Where the party knows of the existence of documents, its request for those documents should be sufficiently specific to identify them. A vague, all encompassing request for production which does not give reasonable notice that the documents are included in the request is insufficient and failure to identify and produce the documents is not sanctionable.
Householder v. Republic Indemnity [5/03/01] 2001 MTWCC 18 Rule 24.5.326, which provides for discovery sanctions, applies only in connection with a motion to compel and is therefore inapplicable where documents are produced without a motion to compel.
Householder v. Republic Indemnity [5/03/01] 2001 MTWCC 18 Sanctions under section 39-71-2914, MCA, which is similar to Rule 11 Mont.R.Civ.P., may be available if the party signing the discovery responses knows they are false.
Taves v. AIU Insurance Company [11/30/99] 1999 MTWCC 76 Sanctions not awarded where claimant's positions during several pronged discovery disputes were substantially justified, even though claimant ordered to provide some information she had previously refused to provide. Even those objections ultimately overruled by Court were reasoned and tailored to the issues in the specific case.
State Compensation Insurance Fund v. Montana Sign, Skinner Enterprises, Lifestyle Homes and Andy Skinner [11/24/99]1999 MTWCC 74, 74A Discovery sanctions were awarded under ARM 24.5.326 because respondent stonewalled, provided no discovery at all, and objected by rote without consideration of individual discovery requests. Sanctions were withdrawn sue sponte, however, because the Court failed to provide respondent with a hearing prior to awarding sanctions. A hearing for that purpose was calendared.
Ragatz v. UEF [10/17/97] 1997 MTWCC 56 Counsel for claimant, who is respondent in this case, failed to respond to interrogatories or to seek additional time based on claimant's alleged illness. Sanctions in the amount of $300 are ordered against claimant's counsel personally, with direction that the cost not be passed on to claimant.
Stone v. State Fund [8/1/96] 1996 MTWCC 57 Insurer moved to vacate trial and compel deposition of pro se claimant who told insurer, "I, will give no deposition, under oath, or otherwise." ARM 24.5.326 allows sanctions for failure to make discover. Motion to vacate trial date and compel discovery is granted. Claimant is cautioned that failure to submit to deposition may result in dismissal of petition with prejudice.
Mavity v. Champion International [04/13/95] 1995 MTWCC 27 Trial counsel embroiled in expert witness dispute are admonished that the Court takes a dim view of gamesmanship in the discovery process. Attorneys are expected to make full and fair disclosure and to cooperate with each other. With the Court’s impatience with pretrial games well known, it is prepared to impose sanctions for abuses.