Washington, DC asked in Civil Litigation for California

Q: Despite the court granting the motion to compel, the defendant has not yet produced the requested information.

The defendant failed to respond to the interrogatories, and the court subsequently granted our motion to compel. However, they have not yet complied with the court order.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Here are a few options for next steps when a defendant fails to comply with a court order compelling discovery responses:

1. File a motion for sanctions: You can file a motion requesting that the court impose sanctions on the defendant for failing to comply with the order to compel. Possible sanctions may include monetary fines, an order precluding the defendant from introducing certain evidence at trial, or even a default judgment against the defendant in extreme cases.

2. Send a meet and confer letter: Before filing a motion for sanctions, you should send a letter to opposing counsel outlining the defendant's non-compliance and requesting that they produce the required information by a specific deadline. Indicate that if they fail to do so, you will have no choice but to seek court intervention and sanctions.

3. Request an order to show cause: You can ask the court to issue an order requiring the defendant to appear in court and show cause as to why they should not be held in contempt for violating the order compelling discovery.

4. Request a court conference: Reach out to the court and request a status conference with the judge to discuss the defendant's failure to comply with the order. The judge may order the defendant to immediately produce the discovery or impose sanctions during the conference.

Be sure to carefully document your attempts to meet and confer and obtain the required discovery before seeking court intervention. The court will want to see that you made good faith efforts to resolve the issue. If the non-compliance persists, pursuing sanctions is often the most effective way to compel the defendant's cooperation with their discovery obligations.

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