• Federal Court Sets High Standard For In-House Counsel To Ensure Corporate Defendant’s Compliance With Discovery Obligations In Imposing Sanctions On Defendant For Willful Discovery Violations
  • January 2, 2013 | Author: David J. Libowsky
  • Law Firm: Bressler, Amery & Ross A Professional Corporation - New York Office
  • A federal court in the Southern District of Florida has recently taken to task in-house counsel in imposing sanctions on a corporate defendant for discovery violations that the court found were willful. See Coquina Investments v. Rothstein, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108712 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 3, 2012). In Coquina, the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke, U.S.D.J. found in a post-trial evidentiary hearing in litigation arising out of the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Scott Rothstein (“Rothstein”) that Defendant TD Bank, N.A. (“TD Bank” or the “Bank”) had “acted willfully in failing to comply with its discovery obligations and assist its outside counsel to properly litigate this case in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence.” Coquina, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108712 at **39-40. Judge Cooke found further that outside counsel, Greenberg Traurig, had “acted negligently in failing to comply with its discovery obligations....” Id. The court imposed sanctions on TD Bank and Greenberg Traurig for these discovery violations, including directing that certain designated facts be taken as established for purposes of this action and payment of Plaintiff’s reasonable attorney’s fees. Judge Cooke’s decision is currently on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. See Coquina Investments v. Rothstein, Docket No. 12-11161-FF (11th Cir. 2012).