Static Control Components, Inc. v. Lexmark Int'l, inc., Case No. 04-00084 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 16, 2007)
In this discovery dispute, counterclaim defendant Pendl Companies, Inc. ("Pendl") sought sanctions against defendant/counterclaim plaintiff Lexmark International, Inc. ("Lexmark"). Pendl contended that Lexmark sent them on a "wild goose chase" by producing approximately 6 million entries in a database of information that turned out to be non-responsive to Pendl's Interrogatory No. 5. Lexmark countered that Pendl was simply complaining about a large amount of responsive data that they themselves had requested. Lexmark pointed out that a portion of the information it produced was a large file of data provided by Environmental Reclamation Services, which Lexmark did not alter in any way (because it would have been improper to do so) and which it relied upon in the same format in which it had received them. Lexmark also made clear that Interrogatory No. 5 requested information it did not possess.
The court sided with Lexmark that the large amount of data it produced was a consequence of the detailed information Pendl requested.
Given the fact that Lexmark had identified 159 entities or individuals who it believed may have breached the Prebate agreement, the foregoing interrogatory requests a substantial amount of information, since this interrogatory requests detailed information as to each of the 159 entities or individuals concerned. Thus, it is logical that Lexmark would have produced a voluminous amount of information in response thereto. It is also logical that Lexmark would not have been in possession of all of the information requested by this interrogatory, since, as Lexmark points out in its response, some of those 159 entities or individuals Lexmark identified did not purchase the Prebate cartridge directly from Lexmark, but instead purchased same from an entity who did purchase the Prebate cartridge directly from Lexmark.
Further, the court noted that it was "significant that following Lexmark’s supplemental response to Interrogatory No. 5, Pendl did not file a motion to compel Lexmark to produce additional information responsive to this interrogatory[,]" before filing the motion for sanctions. (In an earlier conference call with the Magistrate Judge regarding interrogatory No. 5, the court specified the procedure for Pendl to follow in the event that it was dissatisfied with Lexmark's supplemental response.) Additionally, "Pendl does [not] assert that Lexmark’s supplemental response is deficient."
Therefore, it appears that Pendl’s motion for sanctions concerns (1) the amount of time required to review information that it had requested, (2) the fact that portions of the information produced were not responsive to this interrogatory, and (3) the fact that Lexmark was not in possession of information that was hlly responsive to this interrogatory.
In sum, the court concluded that none of the foregoing reasons justified the imposition of sanctions against Lexmark.
1. Follow the court's directives. Do not irritate the court by deviating from its procedures.
2. Just because a large amount of time was expended to review the information requested does not necessarily justify imposition of sanctions.
3. Sanction is not justified where portions of the information produced were not responsive to a discovery request.