How Not to Handle E-Discovery
By: ANDREW F. JOHNSON
Complying with electronic discovery obligations can be a trying experience. However, as a recent case from Utah shows, succumbing to the stresses of e-discovery can have profound consequences.
In Daynight, LLC v. Mobilight, Inc., the Utah Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to enter default judgment against a third-party defendant. 2011 WL 241084 (Utah Ct. App. Jan. 27, 2011). While the appellate court agreed that default judgment was an extreme sanction, it was appropriate where the defaulting party threw a laptop off a building, ran it over with a vehicle and stated “if this gets us in to trouble, I hope we’re prison buddies.” While Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 37(g) did not require the trial court to find willfulness, bad faith, dilatory tactics or the violation of a court order prior to imposing sanctions, the third-party defendant’s actions “unquestionably demonstrate[d] bad faith and a general disregard for the judicial process.”
In sum, complying with discovery requests can be stressful, but parties ignore their obligations at their own peril.