Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

On Demand Direct Response, LLC v. McCart-Pollak

United States District Court, D. Nevada

April 30, 2018

ON DEMAND DIRECT RESPONSE, LLC, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SHANA LEE MCCART-POLLAK, Defendants.

          ORDER; ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE [DOCKET NO. 326]

          Nancy J. Koppe, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is Third-Party Plaintiff Shana McCart-Pollak's motion to enforce the order requiring supplemental discovery responses from Third-Party Defendant Kevin Harrington. Docket No. 326. Ms. McCart-Pollak also seeks sanctions. Id. Mr. Harrington filed a response in opposition, and Ms. McCart-Pollak filed a reply. Docket Nos. 332, 340. The motion is properly decided without a hearing. See Local Rule 78-1. For the reasons outlined below, the motion to enforce is hereby GRANTED. Moreover, the motion for sanctions is hereby GRANTED as to Ms. McCart-Pollak's costs. Lastly, Mr. Harrington, Michael Feder, and Gabriel Blumberg are ORDERED to show cause in writing, no later than May 14, 2018, why they should not be sanctioned in a Court fine of up to $1, 000 each.

         Ms. McCart-Pollak previously brought a motion to compel further responses to Requests for Production 1, 2, 3 and 4. Docket No. 295. In particular, Ms. McCart-Pollak argued that Mr. Harrington improperly asserted a lack of possession, custody, or control of responsive documents. See, e.g., id. at 7. On January 31, 2018, the Court granted Ms. McCart-Pollak's motion to compel in pertinent part as follows:

[A] litigant is permitted to respond to a request for production in appropriate circumstances by indicating that he lack responsive documents. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(a)(1) (parties are required to produce documents that are in their “possession, custody, or control”). “[A] party responding to a Rule 34 production request is under an affirmative duty to seek that information reasonably available to it from its employees, agents, or others subject to its control.” A. Farber & Partners, Inc. v. Garber, 234 F.R.D. 186, 189 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (internal quotations and citations omitted). When a party asserts that he does not have responsive documents, he must come forward with an explanation of the search conducted “with sufficient specificity to allow the Court to determine whether the party made a reasonable inquiry and exercised due diligence.” Rogers v. Giurbino, 288 F.R.D. 469, 485 (S.D. Cal. 2012).
. . . Mr. Harrington has failed to provide sufficient detail as to the inquiry he undertook to find documents responsive to the disputed requests for production. Boilerplate attestations that “records” were searched and “files” were reviewed are not sufficiently detailed to enable Court review of the sufficiency of the inquiry made.
Accordingly, the motion to compel is GRANTED in part as to Requests for Production Nos. 1-4, in that Mr. Harrington shall serve supplemental responses identifying with particularity the inquiry he undertook in attempting to locate responsive documents. That supplemental response shall be served within 14 days of the issuance of this order, and shall be certified pursuant to Rule 26(g) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Docket No. 310 at 3-4 (emphasis added). In short, the Court held that Mr. Harrington's assertion that he searched his “records” and his “files” was insufficiently detailed, and the Court ordered that supplemental responses must be served “identifying with particularity” the search conducted.

         Following the Court's order, Mr. Harrington supplemented his responses by indicating that he “searched and reviewed physical files in his home office as well as electronic files” to no avail, but that he reserves the right to supplement to provide responsive documents in the future. Docket No. 326 at 71-74. In responding to Ms. McCart-Pollak's pending motion to enforce the Court's order, Mr. Harrington asserts that he does not have responsive documents. See Docket No. 332 at 4-6. Mr. Harrington's papers are essentially unresponsive to the issue before the Court. Mr. Harrington was not ordered to state again that he has no responsive documents; he was ordered to provide a detailed explanation of the inquiry undertaken to find responsive documents. Mr. Harrington has now marginally changed his answers from searching “records” and reviewing “files, ” Docket No. 298-2 at ⁋ 5, to searching and reviewing “physical files in his home office as well as electronic files, ” Docket No. 326 at 5, 11, 13, 15. This response is not sufficient. Most obviously, Mr. Harrington provides no explanation of the electronic files searched or the means of searching them. Cf. F.D.I.C. v. 26 Flamingo, LLC, 2013 WL 3975006, at *3 (D. Nev. Aug. 1, 2013) (holding that declaration that electronic search was completed using various terms to “search the system” was insufficiently detailed, given that the declaration failed to provide details about the system searched, whether there were other sources of documents that could be searched, when the search was performed, or whether the documents in the “system” were in searchable format). Nor has Mr. Harrington provided any information about the physical files searched, other than that they are in his home office.[1] Mr. Harrington provides no legal authority or even argument that his latest description passes muster.[2] Accordingly, the Court will GRANT the motion to enforce its prior order (Docket No. 310) and will again ORDER Mr. Harrington to supplement his responses within 14 days of the issuance of this order.

         Having determined that Mr. Harrington failed to comply with the order compelling discovery, the Court turns to Ms. McCart-Pollak's request for sanctions. As a starting point, the Court must award expenses to the victor absent a showing that the loser was substantially justified or there exist unjust circumstances. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(C). The losing party has the burden of establishing substantial justification or unjust circumstances. Falstaff Brewing Corp. v. Miller Brewing Co., 702 F.2d 770, 784 (9th Cir. 1983). In this case, Mr. Harrington provides no argument of any kind in response to the request for sanctions. Moreover, as outlined above, Mr. Harrington provides no legal authority or argument that his supplemental discovery responses provided a sufficiently detailed description of the search undertaken as required to comply with the Court's order. Substantial justification or unjust circumstances have not been shown. Accordingly, the Court will GRANT Ms. McCart-Pollak's request for expenses pursuant to Rule 37(b)(2)(C). The Court encourages the parties to confer on an amount of expenses to be awarded. To the extent they cannot agree on an amount, Ms. McCart-Pollak shall file a “Motion to Calculate Expenses” no later than May 14, 2018.

         In addition, when a party fails to comply with an order compelling discovery, a variety of other sanctions may be imposed, up to and including case-dispositive sanctions and initiation of contempt proceedings. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(i)-(vii). Additionally, the Court “may issue further just orders, ” Fed. R. Civ. PP. 37(b)(2)(A), which includes orders imposing Court fines, see, e.g., Pereira v. Narragansett Fishing Corp., 135 F.R.D. 24, 27 (D. Mass. 1991). Similarly, the Court may impose a fine as an “appropriate sanction” for the improper certification of discovery responses. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(3); see also Travel Sentry, Inc. v. Tropp, 669 F.Supp.2d 279, 286-87 (E.D.N.Y. 2009). In this case, the very order that Mr. Harrington and his counsel disobeyed expressly “CAUTION[ED] Mr. Harrington and his attorneys that they must strictly comply with the Court's orders and all applicable rules moving forward.” Docket No. 310 at 5. Nonetheless, as outlined above, Mr. Harrington and his attorneys violated that order and made no effort to argue otherwise in responding to the instant motion to enforce and for sanctions. Given these circumstances and given that the expenses awarded to Ms. McCart-Pollak will likely be relatively insignificant, it appears that it may also be necessary to impose a fine. Cf. Jones v. Zimmer, 2014 WL 6772916, at *8, 11 (D. Nev. Dec. 2, 2014). Accordingly, Mr. Harrington, Michael Feder, and Gabriel Blumberg[3] are ORDERED to show cause in writing, no later than May 14, 2018, why they should not be sanctioned in a Court fine of up to $1, 000 each.

         IT IS SO ORDERED.

---------

Notes:

[1] This is not meant as an exhaustive cataloguing of the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.