Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Denial of Sanctions Affirmed Where Party “Substantially Complied” with Discovery Orders

From Guimaraes v. NORS, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 2953 (11th Cir. Feb. 16, 2010):

Under Rule 16(f), a court may impose sanctions if a party or its attorney violates a scheduling or other pretrial order, including a discovery order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 16(f)(1)(C). We have upheld the denial of sanctions where the non-moving party had not timely produced documents but the documents in question were "of minimal relevance." [SCADIF, S.A. v. First Union Nat'l, 344 F.3d 1123, 1130 (11th Cir. 2003)]. We have held that "district courts have discretion to decide if there is a pattern of delay or a deliberate refusal to comply with court orders or directions that justifies a sanction" under Rule 16. United States v. Samaniego, 345 F.3d 1280, 1284 (11th Cir. 2003). Pursuant to Rule 26(g), a court may impose sanctions for discovery objections that are frivolous or submitted with an improper purpose, such as causing unnecessary delay or to harass. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(g)(1)(B).

Because the record demonstrates that NORS substantially complied with discovery orders, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to impose sanctions.

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