Song et al v. Drenberg et al

Filing 87

Order re Sanctions. Signed by Judge Virginia K. DeMarchi on 10/11/2019. (vkdlc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/11/2019)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SAN JOSE DIVISION 7 8 JAMES K. SONG, et al., Plaintiffs, 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 Case No. 18-cv-06283-LHK (VKD) ORDER RE SANCTIONS v. AARON DRENBERG, Defendant. By order dated June 19, 2019, the Court indicated its intention to require plaintiff James 14 Song and/or his counsel to reimburse defendant Aaron Drenberg for Mr. Song’s failure to comply 15 with this Court’s May 2, 2019 discovery order with respect to Mr. Drenberg’s first set of requests 16 for production of documents, absent a showing that the failure to comply was substantially 17 justified. Dkt. No. 48. Mr. Song responded to that order principally with complaints about Mr. 18 Drenberg’s counsel’s lack of cooperation in the discovery dispute resolution process. Dkt. No. 51. 19 Mr. Song has not made a persuasive showing that his own positions were substantially justified. 20 In its order of October 11, 2019, the Court has once again concluded that Mr. Song failed 21 to comply with his obligations under Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this 22 Court’s prior orders. Dkt. No. 84. As explained in the Court’s October 11 order, Mr. Song’s 23 oppositions to Mr. Drenberg’s motions to compel were not substantially justified, with two minor 24 exceptions: the Court denied Mr. Drenberg’s demands for the existence and location of documents 25 outside Mr. Song’s possession, custody, or control, and for better quality screenshots. Id. 26 This Court has authority under Rule 37(b)(2) to issue sanctions for failure to comply with a 27 discovery order. See also Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 45 (1991) (court has inherent 28 authority to sanction bad faith failure to comply with its orders). The Court has carefully 1 considered whether sanctions are warranted here. In addition to undermining the Court’s ability to 2 ensure the progress of discovery in this case, Mr. Song’s failure to comply with the Court’s orders 3 necessitated successive motions to compel by Mr. Drenberg. Mr. Song’s conduct also prejudiced 4 Mr. Drenberg’s ability to obtain, review, and complete discovery in this case. For these reasons 5 the Court concludes that sanctions are warranted and appropriate. Accordingly, the Court awards sanctions under Rule 37(b)(2) in favor of Mr. Drenberg and 6 7 jointly against Mr. Song and his counsel for failing to comply with the Court’s prior orders 8 without substantial justification. Specifically, the Court will require Mr. Song and his counsel to 9 reimburse Mr. Drenberg for his reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in preparing the motions to compel with respect to the first set of document requests (Dkt Nos. 39, 65, 66) as to the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 matters on which Mr. Drenberg prevailed. Mr. Drenberg may file a declaration or other evidence 12 supporting the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs for which he seeks reimbursement in 13 accordance with Civil Local Rule 37-4(b)(3) on or before October 31, 2019.1 Mr. Song may 14 submit a response within seven days of Mr. Drenberg’s submission. Alternatively, the parties may 15 stipulate to the amount of attorneys’ fees and costs and so advise the Court. IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 17 Dated: October 11, 2019 18 19 VIRGINIA K. DEMARCHI United States Magistrate Judge 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 If Mr. Drenberg wishes to rely on billing statements to the support attorneys’ fees claimed, and if those statements would reveal privileged information, he may lodge such statements with the Court for in camera review and file a notice of lodging. 2 1

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