Trials & Litigation

Kramer Levin is sanctioned $135K for deposition conduct

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A Delaware judge has ordered Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel to pay $135,000 for a deposition in which its lawyer repeatedly instructed a witness not to answer questions.

Chancellor Andre Bouchard set the amount of the sanction in a Sept. 17 order, the New York Law Journal reports. The money will cover attorney fees incurred by its client’s opponent for the deposition and litigation over the sanctions motion.

Bouchard had said he would impose a sanction in an Aug. 14 letter opinion that found Kramer Levin lawyer Philip Kaufman instructed the Feb. 6 deposition witness not to answer 75 questions, including many that “were benign and did not implicate any privilege.”

The deposition witness was another Kramer Levin lawyer being deposed because he was alleged to be a central figure in past disputes between the litigants, two co-founders of translation services company TransPerfect.

Bouchard is considering another sanctions motion, this one brought by Kramer Levin’s client, Elizabeth Elting, against her opponent, Philip Shawe, according to the New York Law Journal article. Bouchard said the motion “raises very serious issues of spoliation and discovery abuse.”

Elting claims Shawe acquired privileged communications involving Kramer Levin and deleted 21,000 files from his laptop. Shawe denies all of Elting’s allegations, according to a statement issued to the New York Law Journal by its lawyer, Howard Kaplan of Kaplan Rice.

Kramer Levin didn’t comment on the sanction when contacted by the New York Law Journal. The law firm issued a statement saying it was “extremely pleased” that Bouchard ordered the sale of Transperfect, which was “a very significant victory” for its client.

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