Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

London Subscribing to Policy No. B0823PP1308460 v. Advanfort Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

October 9, 2019

CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S, LONDON SUBSCRIBING TO POLICY No. B0823PP1308460, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
ADVANFORT COMPANY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA CARROLL BUCHANAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London subscribing to Policy Number B0823PP1308460 and Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance, Ltd.'s (“Plaintiffs”) three discovery motions: their (1) Motion to Compel (Dkt. 60), (2) Motion for Discovery Sanctions (Dkt. 76), and (3) Motion for Supplemental Sanctions (Dkt. 105). For the reasons articulated below, the Court will award Plaintiffs $28, 468.90 in attorneys' fees and costs.[1]

         I. Background

         A. Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel and Motion for Discovery Sanctions

         This matter is a declaratory judgment action filed by Plaintiffs to judicially confirm lack of insurance coverage for Defendant's asserted claims. (See generally Dkt. 7.) On March 27, 2019, Plaintiffs served their First Interrogatories and First Requests for Production on Defendant. (Pls.' Mot. Compel Mem. Supp. at 3, Exs. 1-2.) Defendant failed to respond with objections within fifteen (15) days, and ultimately served its responses and objections together on April 24, 2019. (See Id. Exs. 3-4.) After the parties' meet-and-confer efforts failed to resolve deficiencies in Defendant's responses, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel (Dkt. 60). The undersigned held a hearing on May 31, 2019, and entered an Order granting in part Plaintiffs' motion. (Hr'g Tr. 18:8-12, Dkt. 75; Dkt. 67.) The Court ordered Defendant to provide revised answers to Interrogatories 3-14 and 18-20 in narrative form. (Hr'g Tr. 16:10-15; 17:10-13.)[2]

         Defendant submitted its First Amended Responses to Plaintiffs' First Interrogatories on June 7, 2019. (Pls.' Mot. Sanctions Mem. Supp. at 3, Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs then filed a Motion for Discovery Sanctions (Dkt. 76), arguing that Defendant's First Amended Responses failed to comply with the Court's earlier Order. (Id. at 6-18.) The Court held a hearing on July 12, 2019, and again found that Defendant's interrogatory responses were grossly inadequate. (See Hr'g Tr. 25:8-9, Dkt. 88; see also Dkt. 89 at 5.) Following the hearing, the Court entered an Order continuing the hearing for Plaintiffs' Motion for Discovery Sanctions and ordering Defendant to fully comply with the Court's prior discovery Order. (Dkt. 83.)

         Defendant then submitted its Second Amended Responses to Plaintiffs' Interrogatories. (Dkt. 84.) The Court held a third hearing and ultimately issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Sanctions Order”) (Dkt. 89). The Court ruled that (1) Defendant violated Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2) and the Court's prior Order; (2) Defendant's violations were unjustified and harmful, and (3) sanctions were appropriate. (See Sanctions Order at 7-17.) The Court also specifically ordered the following:

[P]ursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2)(A)(ii), Defendant is limited to the answers provided in its Second Amended Response at summary judgment and trial. Defendant may not deviate from those answers in any regard, including any attempts to further “clarify” its answers. Nor may Defendant, either at summary judgment or trial, use, introduce into evidence, or even reference any documents, testimony, or information not already provided to Plaintiffs through discovery. Should Defendant fail to follow this Order, Plaintiffs may seek supplemental sanctions.

(Id. at 17.) Furthermore, the Court ordered Plaintiffs to submit their statement of fees and costs incurred in bringing their Motion to Compel and Motion for Discovery Sanctions. (Id.) Plaintiffs complied, requesting the Court to award them $20, 443.91 in total. (Pls.' Fees and Costs, Ex. 1 ¶ 8.) Specifically, Plaintiffs incurred $19, 087.00 in attorneys' fees and expenses, and $1, 356.91 in other reimbursable costs. (Id. ¶¶ 6-8.) Defendant did not file a response to Plaintiffs' Statement of Fees and Costs.

         B. Plaintiffs' Motion for Supplemental Sanctions and Summary Judgment Pleadings

         Meanwhile, Plaintiffs and Defendant briefed the Court on their respective motions and cross-motions for summary judgment. On August 20, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 94). On September 3, 2019, Defendant filed its Renewed Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 100) and the accompanying memorandum of law (“Summary Judgment Brief”) (Dkt. 101). Defendant attached three exhibits to its Summary Judgment Brief: (1) an excerpt of Ahmed Farajallah's deposition transcript (Dkt. 101-1); (2) a declaration by Ahmed Farajallah dated August 30, 2019 (Dkt. 101-2); and (3) a declaration by Samir Farajallah dated August 30, 2019 (Dkt. 101-3) (collectively, the undersigned will refer to the latter two exhibits as the “Farajallah Declarations”). Discovery in this case closed on June 25, 2019. (See Dkt. 73.) Thus, Defendant produced the Farajallah Declarations over two months after the close of discovery.

         On September 20, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Supplemental Sanctions (Dkt. 105), alleging that Defendant had again defied this Court's Order by deviating from the information in the Second Amended Responses in its summary judgment pleadings and exhibits. (See Pls.' Mot. Supplemental Sanctions Mem. Supp. at 1-2.) Plaintiffs first alleged that Defendant's reliance on the Farajallah Declarations-which Defendant produced after the close of discovery-deviated considerably from Defendant's Second Amended Responses. (Id. at 2.) Second, Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant relied on factual assertions in conflict with the Second Amended Responses. (Id.) Defendant filed an Opposition to Motion for Supplemental Sanctions (Dkt. 110), and Plaintiffs filed a Reply (Dkt. 112).

         Plaintiffs asked the Court to impose several sanctions. Substantively, they requested the Court to (1) strike the Farajallah Declarations, (2) deem as undisputed all factual assertions Defendant attempted to dispute by relying on the Farajallah Declarations or by otherwise deviating from the Second Amended Responses, and (3) reject all factual assertions Defendant attempted to establish based on the Farajallah Declarations or by deviating from the Second Amended Responses. (Pls.' Mot. Supplemental Sanctions Mem. Supp. at 5, 27). Furthermore, Plaintiffs requested that the Court award attorneys' fees and costs. (Id.) Specifically, they asked for (1) all costs and fees incurred in bringing the instant Motion for Supplemental Sanctions, (2) all costs and fees incurred in responding to Defendant's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and (3) one-third of their costs and fees incurred in drafting the Reply brief in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment. (Id.)

         This Court entered an Order on October 2, 2019, granting in part Plaintiffs' Motion for Supplemental Sanctions. (Dkt. 113.) The Court (1) struck from the summary judgment record the Farajallah Declarations (Dkts. 101-2, 101-3) and paragraphs 1, 3-6, and 8-16 of Defendant's statement of undisputed facts in its Summary Judgment Brief (Dkt. 101); and (2) deemed undisputed paragraphs 2, 7, 10-13, 16, and 25 of Plaintiffs' Statement of Material Facts in their Brief in Support of their Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.