Party and Counsel Both Subject to Personal Liability for Failure to Comply with Discovery Orders under Rule 37(b)(2)(A) & (C) — Good Quote

Porter Bridge Loan Co. v. Northrop, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 8956 (10th Cir. May 14, 2014):

III. SANCTION AWARD AGAINST ATTORNEY CAPRON

Mr. Capron challenges the district court's order imposing on him a discovery sanction of $1,500.00. Under Rule 37(b)(2)(A) & (C), if a party "fails to obey an order  [*5] to provide or permit discovery," the district court "must order the disobedient party, the attorney advising that party, or both to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, caused by the failure, unless the failure was substantially justified or other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust." (Emphasis added.) We review a district court's discovery-sanction order for an abuse of discretion. Lee v. Max Int'l, LLC, 638 F.3d 1318, 1320 (10th Cir. 2011). We also review for an abuse of discretion the district court's discovery rulings. Carr v. Castle, 337 F.3d 1221, 1232 (10th Cir. 2003).

A party and his counsel may both be held personally liable for expenses incurred in failing to comply with discovery orders. Roadway Express, Inc. v. Piper, 447 U.S. 752, 763 (1980). "Rule 37 sanctions must be applied diligently both to penalize those whose conduct may be deemed to warrant such a sanction, and to deter those who might be tempted to such conduct in the absence of such a deterrent." Id. at 763-64 (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted).

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