ORDER IMPOSING SANCTIONS
AND COMPELLING DISCOVERY
Counsel for claimant, who is respondent in this case, failed
to respond to interrogatories or to seek additional time
based on claimant's alleged illness. Petitioner moved to
compel and sought sanctions.
Sanctions in the amount of $300 are ordered against
claimant's counsel personally, with direction that the
cost not be passed on to claimant.
Discovery: Sanctions. Counsel for claimant,
who is respondent in this case, failed to respond to
interrogatories or to seek additional time based on
claimant's alleged illness. Sanctions in the amount of
$300 are ordered against claimant's counsel personally,
with direction that the cost not be passed on to claimant.
September 30, 1997, the petitioner moved to compel answers to
interrogatories and requests for production propounded upon
the claimant, who is a respondent in this matter. The motion
also sought sanctions.
Court ordered claimant to reply to the motion by October 3,
1997, and on that date it received Claimant's Brief in
Opposition to Petitioner's Motion to Compel Discovery
Responses and for Sanctions. At a pretrial conference held on
October 6, 1997, this Court's hearing examiner directed
claimant to answer the interrogatories by October 20, 1997.
On October 9, 1997, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause
as to why sanctions should not be imposed upon claimant and
scheduled a hearing on the matter at 10:00 a.m., October 14,
1997, in Missoula.
hearing was held as scheduled. Mr. Jeffrey B. Hays appeared
for petitioner, Mr. Kevin Braun for respondent Uninsured
Employers' Fund, and Mr. Paul Tranel for claimant. Mr.
Tranel appeared in place of Mr. Milton Datsopoulos, who is
claimant's attorney of record in this case, because Mr.
Datsopoulos had a conflicting commitment. At the conclusion
of the hearing, the Court imposed sanctions against
claimant's attorney in the amount of $300 and ordered
that claimant's attorney pay that amount and not pass the
amount on to claimant. It reaffirmed its hearing
examiner's oral Order that claimant answer discovery by
October 20, 1997.
August 29, 1997, the petitioner served interrogatories and
requests for production upon claimant. Under Rules 24.5.303,
24.5.323, and 24.5.324, claimant's responses to the
discovery requests were due September 22, 1997. On September
23, 1997, counsel for petitioner wrote to counsel for
claimant advising that he had not received the responses and
requesting the responses be served no later than September
26, 1997. The letter noted that the case was set for trial
during the week of October 13, 1997, and that time was of the
essence. The letter also warned that if responses were not
received by September 26, 1997, petitioner would move to
compel the responses and would seek sanctions.
response or other communication was forthcoming from
claimant's counsel and on October 1, 1997, the petitioner
filed his motion to compel and request for sanctions. In his
October 3, 1997 response to the motion, claimant's
attorney indicated that claimant was too ill to provide
pretrial conference held on October 6th, claimant
requested a continuance of the trial. Opposing counsel did
not object, subject to agreement by UEF not to pursue
enforcement of a lien against petitioner from district court.
The request was granted. Had this Court denied the motion,
this case would have gone to trial on October 14, 1997.
24.5.326 governs sanctions for failure to respond to