Discovery Sanctions Awarded Against LG Electronics


Slabaugh v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., Dist. Court, SD Indiana 2013 – Google Scholar.

This is a case involving a defective washing machine that allegedly caused water damage to the plaintiff’s home. Plaintiff served discovery requests on the U.S. subsidiary of LG Electronics. The subsidiary answered that it did not have the information because the machine was produced by its Korean parent company.

The district court imposed Rule 37 sanctions and ordered LG to produce the information. The court explained:

nstead, in a case where the subsidiary is requested to produce information or documents that are in the possession of its parent company, the rule is that “a subsidiary `need only be able to obtain the documents in question to “control” them, and need not “control” the parent that possesses the documents.'” Ingeteam, 2011 WL 36084 (quoting In re Subpoena to Huawei Tech. Co., Ltd., 720 F.Supp.2d 969 (N.D.Ill.2010)). This ability to obtain the requested information can be difficult to estimate in advance of production, so courts employ various factors to determine the “closeness of the relationship between the entities.” Id. (using five factors to measure “whether a subsidiary has control over documents held by its foreign parent corporation”); In re Subpoena to Huawei Tech. Co., Ltd., 720 F.Supp.2d 969 (N.D.Ill.2010) (using seven factors to measure “the closeness of the relationship between the parties”)….

The Defendant has demonstrated its ability to obtain the requested information and documents, and the Court so finds the Defendant to be in “control” of the materials requested by the Plaintiffs pursuant to Rule 34.

The court described the actions of the defendant as “recalcitrant” and “inexcusable.”

Edward X. Clinton, Jr.

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