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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

Co. Lies About Discovery, Gets Caught; and Gets Hit for $2MM


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1/29/2016
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Image: samarttiw/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let there be no mistake:

If you're lying in order to stonewall your adversary, and it's obvious to a Federal Judge, watch out.

That is the clear implication of the Court's holding in Shcherbakovskiy v. Seitz, et al.

The Plaintiff Refuses to Provide Court-Ordered Discovery

In that case, the defendant counterclaimed against the plaintiff, suing to recover damages they incurred in breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiff, who was the chairman of the board of directors of the Russian conglomerate at issue in the case, refused to provide corporate documents notwithstanding several demands by the defendant's attorneys, and despite a direct court order that he do so. 

The 3 "D"s - Deny, Delay & Defend

At first, he flatly refused on the grounds that "the demands were overly broad," and a "fishing expedition."

Next, he claimed that the documents were immune from disclosure under Russian law.

How the Defendant Caught Plaintiff in Their Web of Lies

After the defendant summoned an expert on Russian law that de-bunked that theory, the plaintiff again refused on the grounds that he needed the permission of his company's board of directors, which conveniently convened a meeting and issued a declaration barring him from disclosing the demanded documents.

Having had enough of this plaintiff's dilatory tactics, the Judge stated as follows:

"I'm not going to allow anybody to come in here as a plaintiff and lie like that or take the position that I'm only here individually and I can't access these Russian records because I don't control the board, I'm only the chairman."

The Federal Court Sanctions Plaintiff ... for Nearly $2 Million

And, after an appeal, sanctions against this plaintiff have now been re-affirmed; the counterclaims against them have been decided, and there is a judgment against the plaintiff in the amount of $1.78 million.



Category: Breach of Contract


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