Judge Issues Sua Sponte Order Chastising Modern Ediscovery Practices

Here we go again



Sec. Nat’l Bank of Sioux City, Iowa v. Abbot Laboratories, No. C 11-4017-MWB, 2014 WL 3704277 (N.D. Iowa July 28, 2014). In this product liability case, the court filed a sua sponte order on the “serious pattern of obstructive conduct” exhibited by the defendants by excessive use of “form” objections that lacked a valid basis and by proliferating hundreds of unnecessary objections and interruptions during the examination of witnesses. The order chastised modern discovery as “rotten” and “too often mired in obstructionism” for a process intended to facilitate the free flow of information between parties. Although the court’s order stated that it could have issued “substantial monetary sanctions” on the defendants, it decided on a more “outside-of-the-box” sanction. The court ordered the defendants to write and produce a training video that explains the holding and rationale of the court’s sua sponte order, and specifically address the impropriety of the defendants’ actions, including the unspecified “form” objections, witness coaching, and excessive interruptions. The unusual sanctions in this case highlight the importance of cooperation in discovery practices.

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