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Case Blurb: Benedict College; Attorney’s role as Officers of the Court

Posted by rjbiii on December 18, 2009

A primer on the American adversary system appears in order. Our system of dispute resolution and justice rests on the “unshakable foundation that truth is the object of the system’s process which is designed for the purpose of dispensing justice.” United States v. Shaffer Equipment Co., 11 F.3d 450, 457 (4th Cir. 1993). It is a process dependent on:the adversarial presentation of evidence, precedent and custom, and argument to reasoned conclusions–all directed with unwavering effort to what, in good faith, is believed to be true on matters material to the disposition. Even the slightest accommodation of deceit or a lack of candor in any material respect quickly erodes the validity of the process. As soon as the process falters in that respect, the people are then justified in abandoning support for the system in favor of one where honesty is preeminent.Id. The court does not view favorably any attempt “to play fast and loose” with our judicial system. United States v. Levasseur, 846 F.2d 786, 792 (1st Cir.1988).

Too often a lawyer loses sight of his primary responsibility as an officer of the court. Wagner v. Williford, 804 F2d 1012, 1017 (7th Cir. 1986). Zealous advocacy can lead to obstruction where it impedes the court’s search for truth. Counsel has a basic ethical obligation to be “scrupulously candid and truthful” in his representations to the court. More practically, if a lawyer is to be an effective advocate, where his reputation for veracity is suspect, he will lack the confidence of the court in matters serving his client. United States v. Thoreen, 653 F.2d 1332 (Wash. App. 1981). This court concurs with the proposition that the judicial system can provide “no harbor for clever devices to divert the search, mislead opposing counsel or the court, or cover up that which is necessary for justice in the end.” Shaffer, 11 F.3d at 457-458.

Benedict College v. Nat’l Credit Sys., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106742 at *17-18 (D.S.C. Nov. 16, 2009)

Posted in 4th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Cooperation Between Parties, D.S.C., Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Benedict College; Uncategorized ‘Data Dumps’ are Impermissible

Posted by rjbiii on December 18, 2009

Furthermore, the fact that the information sought might already be in the possession of the requesting party or obtainable from another source is not a bar to discovery of relevant information.

Having reviewed the 30(b)(6) deposition of [Producing Party’s Representative], heard the arguments of counsel at the hearing, and considered the arguments presented in the briefs, the court finds [Producing Party’s] position untenable. Contrary to defense counsel’s argument, the rules of civil procedure and evidence do not permit a party to dump on opposing counsel a load of documents–in this case, some 5,000–without a correlation to the requesting party’s discovery request, then produce an unresponsive, evasive or otherwise obfuscating 30(b)(6) witness who fails to provide an explanation of the discovery produced, and then claim that it was the requesting party’s fault for not making proper inquiries in discovery.

Benedict College v. Nat’l Credit Sys., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106742, 16-17 (D.S.C. Nov. 16, 2009)

Posted in 4th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Cooperation Between Parties, D.S.C., Data Dump, Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Benedict College; Printed and “PDF’d” DB Records Lacking in Completeness

Posted by rjbiii on December 18, 2009

The court rejects [Producing Party’s] argument that its production of nearly 5,000 pages of documents were provided “as they are kept in the usual course of business” and therefore need not be organized and labeled to correspond to the categories in [Requesting Party’s] discovery requests. According to [Producing Party’s] representations at the hearing and its brief, the documents were not provided as in the usual course of its business, but printed out from its database, copied, Bates numbered, converted to pdf format and then produced–with the information in the charts neutered of their derivation and metadata, and lacking the necessary identifiers to enable [Requesting Party] to make sense of the information provided.

Benedict College v. Nat’l Credit Sys., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106742 at *9-10 (D.S.C. Nov. 16, 2009)

Posted in 4th Circuit, Case Blurbs, D.S.C., Form of Production, Judge Joseph F. Anderson Jr. | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »