The judge denied the first motion to compel production of documents because the parties had not met and conferred, but granted the second motion to compel, ordering the defendant to produce the documents. At a pretrial conference, the court was told the documents had not been produced, and again ordered their production. The day after trial was supposed to begin, a motion for sanctions was filed. On the day of the hearing, counsel informed the court everything he had was produced. One of the documents, a single page, page 20, was heavily redacted, but pages 1 through 19 nor any pages past 20 had not been produced. The court ordered an unredacted version of page 20 to be produced by the end of the day. Instead, an entirely different document, one that was responsive to the original request, was produced. The court ordered defendant’s answer stricken, a default judgment entered and a jury trial to determine the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff. The judgment totaled $5,270,230.06. The Ninth Circuit affirmed all of the trial court’s orders, except the one dismissing the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages, which it reversed. But that’s not all it did. As to the defense lawyer, the appeals court stated: “Harold Gewerter appears to have committed numerous ethical violations. We recommend that the district court, in the exercise of its discretion report Mr. Gewerter to the state bar to determine whether disbarment or some other sanction is merited.” Hester v. Vision Airlines (Ninth Circuit; July 18, 2012) (Case No.’s 11-15646, 11-15761).
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