Where a plaintiff added 16 witnesses and increased its damage demand ten-fold after discovery was supposed to have concluded, the district court’s sanctions, short of dismissal, were appropriate.
“In this case, the district court acted reasonably — and with more restraint than necessary — by imposing severe sanctions short of dismissal. By the time Spamhaus filed its motion to dismiss, Linhardt had repeatedly failed to appear for his scheduled deposition, the district court had twice found it necessary to order e360 to comply with its discovery obligations, and e360 had failed to comply with the court’s clear order compelling discovery. Even more troubling are e360’s supplemental interrogatory responses. When e360 submitted those responses, it implied that its amendments were meant only to rectify defects in its previous responses. In actuality, however, e360 had drastically amended its previous responses. It added sixteen new witnesses, and it increased its damages estimate by a full order of magnitude. Even setting aside e360’s previous discovery delays, these changes provided powerful evidence that e360 was not engaging in the discovery process in good faith.”
“There is no way that e360 could have believed in good faith that its last-minute disclosure of so many new witnesses and a radically inflated damages estimate was even remotely appropriate, especially as part of its belated effort to comply with a court order compelling discovery. We cannot believe that e360 first learned of all this information in the two weeks between its initial, late, and inadequate responses to Spamhaus’s interrogatories on August 29, 2008, and its amended responses on September 12, 2008. All indications are that this late disclosure was meant to prolong discovery and inflict additional costs on Spamhaus by forcing it to request additional time to depose those witnesses and learn the details of the inflated new damage estimate. e360 only reinforces this suspicion by arguing to us that its failure to comply with the district court’s July order ‘could have been remedied by allowing Spamhaus to conduct any [additional] discovery it felt necessary.’”
10-3538 & 10-3539 e360 Insight, Inc., v. The Spamhouse Project
Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kocoras, J., Hamilton, J.