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Los Angeles County Sanctioned for Withholding Use-of-Force Documents

In July 2012, United States Magistrate Judge Stephen Hillman ordered Los Angeles County to pay $7,000 in sanctions for opposing a motion to compel production of documents, without substantial justification in a federal case alleging unconstitutional use of force by county deputies.

After twice agreeing to lodge the requested documents with the court for in camera review, counsel for the defendants then produced only some of the requested documents, forcing counsel for plaintiff Jeremy Fogleman to file a motion to compel production of the documents.

Counsel for the defendants then compounded the problem by asserting boilerplate objections to the motion to compel.

The Court found that the defendants acted in an “obstructionist” manner and that their opposition to the motion to compel was without substantial justification. Pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, it ordered the defendants to pay $7,000 in sanctions to pay plaintiff’s counsel for the “unnecessary” time spent in filing the motion to compel.

The court also ordered the County to lodge with the Court “forthwith” all the documents in their possession regarding complaints of force, retaliation, and dishonesty by the defendant deputies. See: Fogleman v. County of Los Angeles, U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.), case no. cv 10-6793-GAF (SHx), Order on Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel and Request for Sanctions, July 17, 2012. 

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Related legal case

Fogleman v. County of Los Angeles