Court Orders Spoliation Sanctions Requiring Defendants and Former Defense Counsel To Pay Attorneys’ Fees and Costs
In DR Distributors LLC v. 21 Century Smoking, Inc, v. CB Distributors, Inc. and Carlos Bengos, 2021 WL 185082, No. 12 CV 50324 (1/19/2021), Judge Johnston of the Northern District of Illinois, granted Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against Defendants and their former counsel, requiring them to, among other things, pay what was expected to exceed a million dollars of attorneys’ fees and costs to Plaintiff. The Court imposed the sanctions based on its conclusion that Defendants and their former counsel: did not take reasonable steps to preserve ESI (electronically stored information); did not conduct a reasonable investigation of their ESI; did not timely disclose ESI under 26(g); and spoliated thousands of emails and chat messages. This ruling shows that we, as legal practitioners, need to be extremely congizant of our discovery obligations.