Monday, November 19, 2012

Judge compells compliance: Sanctions against BCS

2009-10 Attorney's Fees Request

We just received the order from Judge Lucas, compelling BCS compliance with the discovery process and hitting BCS with sanctions in the amount of $51,085.60.

When BCS brought a motion against LASD to demand that we pay their legal fees for the 2009-10 lawsuit, LASD rightly challenged that claim.  The legal process provides that we are entitled to discovery of evidence that might support our defense.  We filed that discovery this past summer, but BCS has been stonewalling and refusing to provide a response.  On Oct 30, 2012, we argued in front of Judge Lucas to compel that discovery.  Today, Judge Lucas ordered BCS to comply with the discovery.  In the grand scheme of legal rulings, compelling someone to comply with discovery is akin to making them look both ways before they cross the street-- everyone knows you're supposed to do it, so it shouldn't surprise if you fight that and lose the argument.  What was interesting was that Judge Lucas also imposed sanctions against BCS.  By law, the sanctions aren't punitive- it's just meant to make sure we don't have to spend money to get what we are legally entitled to get (the evidence we need for our defense).  I'm told by many lawyers, though, that judges rarely hand out sanctions. 

In her ruling, Judge Lucas says, "Petitioner’s argument that the existence of some evidence to support its factual position should preclude discovery is so contrary to the basic purpose of discovery that it is not reasonably asserted. Accordingly, Respondents’ request for monetary sanctions is granted."  One would think that would inspire cooperation, but we'll have to wait and see.

To be fair, folks need to keep in mind the scope of our victory.  We haven't yet defeated the BCS effort to claim $1.3M in legal fees.  We've just forced them to  provide the evidence we need to defend ourselves in the suit.  Still, I'm pleased to see that the Judge has spoken out against their bad behavior.

Here's the full text of the order:
BCS v. LASD Order Granting Motion to Compel