District Court Sanctions Lawyer Who Fails To Cancel Depositions

DUTTLE v. Childress, Dist. Court, D. New Mexico 2012 – Google Scholar.

In litigation, depositions are taken pursuant to notice and, almost always, the agreement of the lawyers on scheduling issues.

This case presents the extremely odd situation where the lawyers agreed to take certain depositions of the plaintiffs at a place and time; defense counsel traveled to New Mexico to take the depositions and then the plaintiffs did not show up.

The defendants sought sanctions and the district court granted those sanctions pursuant to Section 1927.

The court explains: “Defendants’ counsel traveled from Albuquerque to Las Cruces in anticipation of taking the depositions as noticed. See docs. 64, 66. Despite receiving proper notice, none of the Plaintiffs appeared for their deposition. Doc. 56 at 2. Although Plaintiffs’ counsel was explicitly told by his clients several days before the scheduled depositions that they would not appear, he did not advise Defendants’ counsel of this fact. See doc. 87 at 19 (asking counsel about his failure to contact opposing counsel despite knowing clients would not appear).”

The court ordered the plaintiffs and their lawyer to pay the sanctions award of $3,600.

Comment: this is remarkably rude and inconsiderate behavior. Defense counsel had to prepare for the depositions and then travel to take them. Defense counsel lost time that could have been better spent doing other things. Finally, the sanctions award was modest.

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