Law Firms

Bingham sanctioned for slow discovery response in ex-associate's sleep disorder suit


A Los Angeles judge has ordered Bingham McCutchen to pay $2,430 as a sanction for slow discovery in a suit by a former associate who claims the firm failed to accommodate her sleep disorder.

The sanction imposed by Judge Mel Red Recana last week is lower than the $6,255 requested by the plaintiff, Hartwell Harris, the Recorder reports. Harris says she has delayed sleep-phase syndrome, which causes her to fall asleep and wake up later than the norm.

The motion for sanctions had argued that Bingham “is simply playing the perpetual delay game to gain unfair advantage in litigation.” A lawyer for Harris, Tamara Freeze, told the Recorder in a written statement that the order confirms that “Bingham’s discovery behavior is unacceptable.”

“Bingham took three months to respond to a simple set of employment interrogatories only to serve a litany of garbage objections and evasive responses,” Freeze said. “These were the worst discovery responses I have ever seen in my entire career.”

A Bingham spokesperson told the Recorder that the firm produced thousands of pages of responsive documents in response to more than 300 separate discovery requests. “We asserted a number of objections to Ms. Harris’ discovery requests, and engaged in a substantial ‘meet and confer’ process with Ms. Harris, after which we filed supplemental discovery responses that we believed mooted the concerns raised in Ms. Harris’ motion to compel,” the statement said.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Firm’s job contract doesn’t require arbitration of ex-associate’s suit, appeals court says”

ABAJournal.com: “Suit by Ex-Bingham Associate Claims She Was Fired Because of a Rare Sleep Disorder”

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