Computer Task Group, Inc. v. Brotby
Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit, 2004.
364 F.3d 1112.
FACTS: In 1995 William Brotby was hired by Computer Task Group, Inc. (CTG) as an information technologies consultant. Upon hiring, Brotby had to sign an agreement stating that he would be restricted to work for any CTG customers if he left the company. No more than two years later, Brotby left CTG and began to work for one of CTG’s customers known as Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. CTG, plaintiff, filed a suit against Brotby, defendant, in a federal district court alleging breach of contract. During the production of discovery, Brotby refused to fully respond to CTG’s interrogatories, never gave truthful answers, filed unwarranted motions, made flimsy objections, and never disclosed all of the information that CTG sought. Brotby was fined twice by the court and was issued five separate orders ordering him to cooperate. Because of Brothby’s continuous refusal to cooperate, CTG eventually filed a motion to enter default judgment against him in 1999. The court granted the motion; however, Brotby appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. ISSUE: Is continuous refusal of the defendant to produce discovery enough to warrant a default judgment by a federal district court? DECISION: The federal district court granted CTG’s motion to enter a default judgment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the lower court. Therefore, the appellate court held that “in light of Brotby’s horrible record of discovery abuses” and his “abiding contempt and continuing disregard for the court’s orders,” the lower court properly exercised its discretion in entering a default judgment against the defendant. REASON: The Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 allows the district court to enter a default judgment against a party who fails to comply with an order demanding discovery. In addition, the district court must...
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