United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
September 8, 2005.
THOMAS J. HERIAUD and PAT HERIAUD, Plaintiffs,
RYDER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, RYDER TRUCK RENTAL, INC., MORGAN CORPORATION, and THE MAXON LIFT CORPORATION, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARLANDER KEYS, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On December 22, 2000, Thomas Heriaud, who was working at the
time as a delivery truck operator, was injured on the job while
using the tail gate lift device on a truck leased to his employer
by Ryder. Mr. Heriaud sued Ryder, alleging that the lift was
defective and that Ryder should therefore be liable for his
injuries; he also sued Morgan Corporation and the Maxon Lift
Corporation, which are alleged to have been involved in the
design, manufacture, and distribution of the lift. Mr. Heriaud's
wife joined in the suit, alleging loss of society. The defendants
removed the case, and discovery has been limping along, with a
relatively high degree of court intervention and monitoring. The
case is currently before the Court on a motion for sanctions
filed by the defendants. The defendants seek sanctions for the way the Heriauds'
attorney, Bradley D. Steinberg, behaved at the May 17, 2005
deposition of the plaintiffs' liability expert, Douglas Morita;
they also seek sanctions based upon the way Mr. Morita conducted
himself at the deposition. According to the defendants,
throughout Mr. Morita's deposition, Mr. Steinberg, made "speaking
objections," with the apparent intention of, at times, testifying
for Mr. Morita, and, at other times, signaling to Mr. Morita that
he should testify (or not testify) in a particular manner. At one
point during the deposition, the parties called the Court to seek
guidance as to how to proceed, and the Court admonished Mr.
Steinberg that his objections were improper and that he should
stop making them. He apparently declined to follow the Court's
instruction, and, ultimately, the defendants terminated the
Thereafter, Ryder, Morgan Corporation and Maxon Lift filed
separate motions for sanctions. In its motion, Ryder asks the
Court to disqualify Mr. Morita from further participation in the
case, to censure Mr. Steinberg for his conduct, and to impose a
monetary sanction on Mr. Steinberg and the Heriauds to cover the
fees and costs Ryder incurred to have its attorneys prepare for
and attend the aborted Morita deposition and to prepare the
motion for sanctions. Morgan asks the Court to order Mr. Morita's re-deposition; it also seeks sanctions against Mr.
Steinberg. Maxon Lift argues that the defendants and the Court
have tolerated Mr. Steinberg's conduct for far too long. It asks
the Court to bar Mr. Morita from testifying at trial;
alternatively, Maxon asks the Court to order plaintiffs and Mr.
Steinberg to pay Maxon for the attorneys' fees it incurred in
preparing for and attending Mr. Morita's deposition, and to order
plaintiffs and Mr. Steinberg to again produce Mr. Morita for
deposition, at their expense.
The defendants seek sanctions under Rules 30 (d) (3) and 37 (b)
(2) (E) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 30 (d) (3)
provides that "[i]f the court finds that any impediment, delay,
or other conduct has frustrated the fair examination of the
dependent, it may impose upon the persons responsible an
appropriate sanction, including the reasonable costs and
attorney's fees incurred by any parties as a result thereof."
Rule 37 (b) (2) provides, in relevant part, that:
[i]f a party or an officer, director, or managing
agent of a party or a person designated under Rule 30
(b) (6) or 31 (a) to testify on behalf of a party
fails to obey an order to provide or permit
discovery, including an order made under subdivision
(A) of this rule or Rule 35, or if a party fails to
obey an order entered under Rule 26(f), the court in
which the action is pending may make such orders in
regard to the failure as are just, and among others
(E) Where a party has failed to comply with an order under Rule 35(a) requiring that party to
produce another for examination, such orders as are
listed in paragraphs (A), (B), and (C) of this
subdivision, unless the party failing to comply shows
that that party is unable to produce such person for
Subsections (A), (B), and (C) allow the Court to order that
certain matters are deemed established (subsection A); to bar the
disobedient party from supporting or opposing certain claims or
defenses or prohibit that party from introducing designated
matters into evidence (subsection B); and to strike out pleadings
or parts thereof or dismiss the case entirely. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37
(b) (2). Under this rule, the Court can also order the
disobedient party to pay the reasonable expenses, including
attorney's fees, incurred as a result of the disobedience. Id.
There is no question in this case that Mr. Steinberg's conduct
"frustrated the fair examination of" Mr. Morita. He was hostile
from the beginning, and he remained in that posture throughout
the deposition. With counsel's third question, Mr. Steinberg was
argumentative and combative for no apparent reason:
[By Mr. Fuoco] Q Were you aware of the need to
produce any and all documents to comprise a complete
and unabridged case file?
Mr. Steinberg: Well, wait, you submitted a written
document list as to what you wanted. And to the best
of Mr. Morita's and Polytechnic's ability, those
documents you requested were produced. Mr. Fuoco: Brad, are you testifying for Mr. Morita?
Mr. Steinberg: No, I am saying that what it was that
was produced was pursuant to a specific request, not
your oral one as you phrased it just now.
Transcript of Deposition of Douglas R. Morita, pp. 4-5. After Mr.
Steinberg's interruption, counsel asked the same question again
and, this time, got an answer:
Q At some point in time did you become aware of the
need to produce your complete and unabridged case
review material file?
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 4-5. Although this is a relatively
mundane question and answer, the example is indicative of how Mr.
Steinberg's constant interruptions and interjections, which began
at the earliest opportunity, impeded the flow and progress of the
Mr. Steinberg also interrupted the deposition when counsel
marked exhibits. After counsel marked the first exhibit, clearly
saying that he was going to mark it as "Group Exhibit A," Mr.
Steinberg interjected the following:
Mr. Steinberg: Excuse me. You're going to mark this 1
or A did you say? Which was it?
Mr. Fuoco: A.
Mr. Steinberg: All right. So if I understand then
your procedure, you're going to be using an
alphabetized form of exhibit identification, is that correct?
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 7-8. When counsel stated that he
was marking the second exhibit as "Group B," Mr. Steinberg again
Mr. Steinberg: For the record, Mr. Fuoco, is it
correct that you've identified Morita Group Exhibit
B, numbered pages 1 through and including 16, as
being reflective of professional services and the
time sheet total, is that correct?
Mr. Fuoco: Remember, Brad, I don't answer deposition
Mr. Steinberg: Well, you marked it. I'm asking you to
Mr. Fuoco: You didn't give me a chance, Brad.
Mr. Steinberg: Go ahead.
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 11-12. Again, this is really more
annoying than prejudicial; it merely illustrates Mr. Steinberg's
attempts to take charge and to impede and slow counsel's
questioning of the witness.
And there are plenty of examples of more prejudicial
interjections. To cite just one, when counsel attempted to ask
Mr. Morita about his findings concerning the cause of the lift
gate's failure one of the most critical issues in the case
Mr. Steinberg obstructed the dialogue:
Q Okay. Now sudden loading would mean an overload
situation? A Yes.
Q Meaning if the capacity of the lift gate is 1600
pounds there was more than 1600 pounds on the lift
gate platform, true?
Q Okay. In a sudden loading situation, we've already
established it's an overload, right?
Mr. Steinberg: Excuse me, are you talking now about
what he and I discussed or do you now just want to
argue with him concerning the fact that there was no
evidence of an overload? Which could you clarify
your question? . . . He is attempting to describe, if
I understand your question correctly, the fact that
there was no overload.
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 16-17.
This prompted counsel for Ryder to admonish Mr. Steinberg "not
to narrate" and to limit his comments to evidentiary objections,
as required by the federal rules. See Transcript of Morita
Dep., pp. 16-17. This, in turn, seemed to prompt Mr. Steinberg to
interrupt even more, mostly to ask the court reporter to read a
question or an answer back, see, e.g., Transcript of Morita
Dep., pp. 21, 22, 24, 35, 37. And it also seemed to escalate his
hostility. At page 24 of the transcript, he made a particularly
accusatory objection for vagueness: "[t]hat question is so vague
and so indefinite as to almost be incomprehensible and probably
is incomprehensible. I'm objecting to it. It's vague and
incomprehensible." And then, when counsel asked whether, despite the objection, Mr. Morita could answer the
question, Mr. Steinberg interjected:
Excuse me, would you just let him answer one question
at a time? He is at this time going through his file.
Please let him finish doing what he's doing before
you put another question.
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 25. And when counsel noted his
intention to mark the interjection as an example of an
inappropriate comment, Mr. Steinberg retorted with "[i]f you will
permit him to just go through his file before putting another
question to him, I believe that would be a less oppressive and
annoying way of conducting the deposition." Transcript of Morita
Dep., p. 25.
Mr. Steinberg's conduct at the deposition, appears to have been
designed to rile his adversaries, and to suggest answers to Mr.
Morita. Counsel for Ryder tried to work around him and tried to
ignore him at times, but Mr. Steinberg just kept inserting
himself into the proceedings. He interrupted the proceedings, for
among other things, to ask whether the attorneys had decided how
they intended to divide the seven hours allotted for Mr. Morita's
deposition, to ask counsel for Ryder to get some kleenex, and to
ask the court reporter what time she officially started the
Rule 30 (d) requires that "any objection during a deposition must be stated concisely and in a non-argumentative and
non-suggestive manner." Mr. Steinberg repeatedly violated this
rule. He did not simply state the basis for his objections and
allow the deposition to continue; rather, he consistently
inserted himself into the process by giving lengthy soliloquies
as to how counsel's performance and questions were lacking, and
he refused to be ignored. To cite just one example, after one
straight-forward question, Mr. Steinberg objected as follows:
Now, your question, again, there's an ambiguity in it
I'd like you to clarify. Are you saying that elements
of what you have said, are you asking whether
elements have been used by him or are you asking that
particular form and format that you're talking about
used by him, which do you mean?
By Mr. Fuoco: [to Mr. Morita] Sir, do you understand
Mr. Steinberg: You refuse to clarify the question
apparently for the record. And, again, I think this
is a violation of the Rule 30 because I have asked
him to clarify and the interrogator refuses to
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 49-50. Over the next several
questions, Mr. Steinberg continued to press his demand for
clarification, despite the fact that the witness seemed not to
need any. He interjected:
Now, again, that question is ambiguous. Are you
including in this the contracts, are you including
the documents that deal with what it was that was
undertaken by Ryder in the format? In other words, is
that included in your question or are you excluding
it? So if you would clarify what you mean, please. Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 54-55. And then:
What do you mean by all that he's learned? He's got
his background and experience. Are you excluding
that? Please clarify what you mean by all that he has
learned. Clarify it.
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 56. And then, in case anyone had
missed his objections:
On several occasions thus far, okay, I have asked for
clarification. In the absence of clarification of
this type and form of question is annoying. It is
also abusive in the absence of clarifying. And that
is the reason why it is that I am asking for
clarification so that we can move on with this
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 57. Undeterred, after the next
question, he interjected:
Excuse me. Again, will you please clarify, are you
asking for the basis? Are you asking for the
substantive information? Will you please clarify? And
in the absence of this, your question is abusive,
it's annoying, okay? And it's deliberately ambiguous.
Will you please clarify it?
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 57. Without belaboring the point,
the repeated and often lengthy diatribes in search of
"clarification" continued all despite the fact that Mr. Morita,
who had already demonstrated that he was perfectly capable of
seeking clarification when he needed it, did not seem to be
struggling with the questions.
And Mr. Steinberg's objections and demeanor became increasingly
hostile and personal as the deposition proceeded. At one point, Mr. Steinberg objected to a question by telling
counsel "you either don't know what you're doing or you are
complicating things in such a way as to make the question
incomprehensible scientifically." Transcript of Morita Dep., p.
39. Although he said, on the record, that he was doing what he
needed to do to preserve objections, it is impossible to imagine
that he actually believed his conduct was required, or even
appropriate, under the federal rules.
Mr. Steinberg also used his objections to push his theory that
the lift gate was defective. For example, at one point he
objected to a question about the original welding on the lift
gate by saying: "Again, by this do you mean the actual physical
welding as it was being done, counsel, or do you mean the
remnants of it? Which do you mean?" Transcript of Morita Dep.,
pp. 82-83. And when counsel asked Mr. Morita whether he had "made
any effort at all to physically compare the Maxon drawings that
have been produced in this case to validate and verify that the
subject gate was made in accordance with those drawings, Mr.
Steinberg interjected "[i]n accordance or nonaccordance, counsel,
which way do you mean it?" Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 84.
Similarly, when counsel asked Mr. Morita whether he "could
personally go out and locate a model RCM Maxon lift gate, take it
into your laboratory, get out the design drawings and compare the left cam and stop in terms of how this exemplar lift gate had
been manufactured," Mr. Steinberg objected by saying:
Objection. The objection is this, if another vehicle
is involved, that might be a proper question. But if
you are now taking some other particular vehicle with
another type of lift gate, that may or may not have
any bearing. And at this point there is a lack of
factual basis for your question.
Now, at this point I am asking you to please form
your question clearly and please don't use questions
that have no basis in the evidence. I object for
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 85-86.
And when counsel for Ryder asked Mr. Morita what role corrosion
plays in the degradation of a weld, Mr. Steinberg objected on the
ground that "[t]his particular form of question is objectionable.
It's objectionable because of the fact that it is a misstatement
of the particular opinions expressed by Mr. Morita in his report.
I object to the form of it for those reasons." Transcript of
Morita Dep., p. 91.
At one point, Mr. Steinberg interrupted the deposition, saying
that he wanted to ask Mr. Morita a question; he then engaged in a
whispered, off-the-record exchange with Mr. Morita, in which he
appears to have tried to refresh Mr. Morita's memory without
any prompting about some testimony Mr. Heriaud had given at his
deposition. See Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 92-94. This was
inappropriate. Additionally, when counsel for Ryder asked Mr. Morita to
highlight on a diagram a particular part he was talking about,
Mr. Steinberg instructed Mr. Morita not to mark documents unless
and until defense counsel agreed that their experts would be
permitted to mark drawings when asked to do so. See Transcript
of Morita Dep., p. 32. And, based upon Mr. Steinberg's
instruction, Mr. Morita refused to highlight the diagram as
requested. Id. at 33-34. This was tantamount to an instruction
not to answer, and such a move is appropriate under Rule 30 "only
when necessary to preserve a privilege, to enforce a limitation
directed by the court, or to present a motion under Rule 30(d)
(4)." None of these applied here.
When counsel for Ryder attempted to ask Mr. Morita about the
methods he used to reach the findings he included in his report,
Mr. Steinberg objected time and time again. Ryder's counsel
allowed the situation to deteriorate, in large part, because he
was unable to ignore Mr. Steinberg, and, at one point, he asked
Mr. Morita whether, for something in science to be valid, it had
to be replicated. Mr. Steinberg again objected:
Again, will you please be specific? If you are
talking about the underlying principles used that
have to be replicated before the present principles
and then after that make an analysis based upon the
established principles? Which has to be replicated,
that which exists before the principle is determined
or that which is based upon the principle? Which do
you mean, and will you please be specific instead of being so
general and vague? Now. I can't make it more
specific. Will you clarify the question?
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 124. With that, counsel for Ryder
stopped the deposition and called the Court to seek some
assistance in reining in Mr. Steinberg.
Once apprised of the situation, the Court instructed Mr.
Steinberg that, if he had a legitimate objection, he should just
state it for the record, and then let Mr. Morita answer the
question asked. See Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 128-129. The
lawyers tattled on each other, with Mr. Fuoco telling the Court
that Mr. Steinberg's so-called objections were "narrative" and
"suggestive" a fact that was certainly borne out by the
deposition transcript to that point, and Mr. Steinberg telling
the Court that Mr. Fuoco was himself impeding the progress of the
deposition by asking questions that were "vague and general" and
"susceptible of multiple answers." Transcript at 129. After
hearing from the lawyers, the Court instructed Mr. Steinberg that
it would not tolerate speaking objections, and that objections
designed to coach or suggest were similarly improper. The Court
admonished Mr. Steinberg that the defendants had a right to
defend against the Heriauds' allegations, and that that right
included the ability to ask probative questions of their
liability expert without Mr. Steinberg impeding that process. Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 138-141.
Yet, in the wake of the Court's intervention, little changed. A
short time after the call with the Court, Mr. Steinberg objected
to a question with
[o]bjection. This is repetitive. He has previously
testified as to a basis for that position that he's
testified to. How many times are you going to attempt
to get this, okay? It's vague, vague and indefinite
Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 145. And just a few questions
later, he erupted with the following:
All right. Now, this is the umpteenth time that this
argumentative question has been put to this witness
in addition to its repetitive nature. Now, I'm not
asking these to be blue tabbed, but I am asking the
court reporter to make sure that there is a record of
this objection as to each of the times that this
question has been asked and answer made and objection
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 146. Then, after the witness asked
the court reporter to read back the question, Mr. Steinberg
Excuse me, I want this stated on the record, that
allegations in this case involve product defect. That
is what we are dealing with. And the materiality and
relevance of repetitive questions that have been
asked, okay, aren't directed to this issue. Moreover,
that additional objection has a basis for my
objection. In other words, it exceeds the scope of
the issues in addition to being repetitive.
Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 146-147.
Mr. Steinberg also continued his attempts to coach or suggest testimony to Mr. Morita. For example, when Mr. Fuoco
asked Mr. Morita how, if he didn't pinpoint the location of a
crack, he could ever identify that crack, Mr. Steinberg
interrupted by saying "[a]gain, your question, just for
clarification, is only limited to the defect of the crack as
opposed to any others is that correct?" Transcript of Morita
Dep., p. 162. And, when Mr. Fuoco asked Mr. Morita to identify
where on the bracket the weld was that he said had been broken,
Mr. Steinberg interjected "[o]bjection, misstates his evidence.
He had indicated that it had deteriorated in his report and/or
cracked." Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 165.
In short, even after the Court instructed him to refrain from
making speaking objections and to refrain from being suggestive
with the witness, Mr. Steinberg continued to do both. Thus, in
addition to violating Rule 30, Mr. Steinberg also disobeyed an
explicit instruction from the Court.
Mr. Steinberg dismissively characterizes his behavior as being
"pleonastic," see brief at 3, suggesting that he was merely
being verbose or redundant in his objections. But his behavior
was much more egregious and unprofessional; even a dry reading of
the deposition transcript compels the conclusion that Mr.
Steinberg was, at best, trying to obstruct his adversaries'
ability to obtain answers to their questions, and, at worst, trying to coach his expert to answer or not answer questions
as Mr. Steinberg saw fit. His behavior violates every rule of
discovery that broaches the subject.
Mr. Steinberg suggests that his behavior is somehow acceptable
because defense counsel have dragged their feet or been less than
cooperative and forthcoming at times during discovery. But this
is not a playground or a boxing ring where one feels out his
opponent; this is a federal court, and, given that, the parties
are expected to conduct themselves with decorum and
professionalism. The Court rejects Mr. Steinberg's apparent
analogy of discovery being akin to a boxing match where the
opponents learn what they can and cannot get away with. See brief
at 19. If Mr. Steinberg believed the defendants or their lawyers
had conducted themselves inappropriately, he should have moved
for sanctions; their alleged bad behavior does not give him the
right to sling some mud of his own.
And, in fact, the deposition transcripts Mr. Steinberg
submitted do not, as he argues, show that counsel for Ryder
behaved as badly as he did. On the contrary, according to those
transcripts, Mr. Fuoco objected to questions as contemplated in
the federal rules; that is, he objected and concisely stated the
basis for his objection; he did not make speaking objections, he
did not use his objections to coach or suggest things to the witnesses.
Not only did Mr. Steinberg behave badly, but he also encouraged
his expert to behave badly; apparently buoyed by Mr. Steinberg's
tone and attitude, Mr. Morita became, during the deposition, as
obstreperous and hostile as Mr. Steinberg. As already mentioned,
Mr. Morita flatly refused to highlight a part on a diagram when
asked to do so, Transcript of Morita Dep. at 33; he criticized
counsel's questions as "extremely poorly worded," and
"unintelligible," and he called counsel "silly" for asking one
question, see Transcript of Morita Dep. at 37, 123, 158; he
refused to answer questions, noting that they had been "asked and
answered," Transcript of Morita Dep., p. 123; he refused to
answer another question on his own, referring counsel instead to
his report, Transcript of Morita Dep., pp. 162-163. These are
just a few examples; a reading of the entire transcript is
necessary to give full flavor to the condescension and
unprofessionalism exhibited by Mr. Morita.
Mr. Steinberg's conduct violated the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, and it also violated this Court's explicit directives.
He has demonstrated that he is incapable or unwilling to abide by
the rules of the Court or to rein in his conduct, to behave as a
professional, in a civil manner. Sanctions are appropriate.
But what sanction is appropriate? The defendants have asked the Court, alternatively, to bar Mr. Morita from testifying, to
order the re-deposition of Mr. Morita at Mr. Steinberg's expense,
and to impose a monetary sanction on Mr. Steinberg and the
Heriauds. A district court is bound to impose a sanction that is
proportionate to the offending party's discovery violation; it is
not, however, required to impose the least drastic sanction
available. See Wilson v. Sundstrand, Nos. 99 C 6944, 99 C 6946,
2003 WL 21961359, at *14 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 18, 2003) (citing
Johnson v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 280 F.3d 1125, 1132 (7th
Cir. 2002); Melendez v. Illinois Bell Telephone Co.,
79 F.3d 661, 673 (7th Cir. 1996)). Here, Mr. Steinberg prevented the
defendants from obtaining the discovery they needed and were
entitled to from the plaintiffs' liability expert; they were
utterly unable, because of his conduct, and because of the
conduct of the expert himself, who clearly took his cues from Mr.
Steinberg, to investigate, explore or probe Mr. Morita's findings
and conclusions. The deposition transcript as it now stands is
What's worse, Mr. Steinberg so poisoned the atmosphere in that
room that it is unlikely that the defendants could ever build a
rapport with Mr. Morita; it is unlikely that he would ever be
forthcoming and cooperative with the defendants' attorneys. And
so the Court is unwilling to simply order Mr. Morita to sit once again for deposition. Instead, given Mr.
Steinberg's conduct and the consequences thereof, the Court finds
that it is appropriate to bar Mr. Morita from testifying at
The Court recognizes that the decision to bar a witness should
not be lightly made; in many cases, the decision is made only
after repeated failures to heed instructions or only after a
pattern of misconduct has emerged. For example, in Johnson v.
J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 280 F.3d 1125 (7th Cir. 2002), the
court decided to bar two witnesses after the defendant repeatedly
failed to produce them for deposition. But the situation
presented here is actually worse in at least one respect: if Mr.
Steinberg had simply failed to produce Mr. Morita, he would
actually have saved the defendants some money; instead, he
produced the witness, causing the defendants to spend money to
prepare for and attend the deposition, then he prevented them
from accomplishing anything once they got there. Because of Mr.
Steinberg's and Mr. Morita's conduct, the defendants' time,
effort, and money were utterly wasted. Accordingly, the Court
finds that an order barring Mr. Morita from testifying is
warranted. Additionally, because Mr. Steinberg's conduct was so
out-of-line, the Court will order him to reimburse the defendants
for the fees and costs they incurred to have their attorneys attend Mr. Morita's deposition.
Although the sanction imposed today packs a punch, the Court is
"not required to fire a warning shot." Hal Commodity Cycles
Management Co. v. Kirsh, 825 F.2d 1136, 1139 (7th Cir. 1987),
quoted in Parker v. Freightliner Corp., 940 F.2d 1019, 1025
(7th Cir. 1991). At Mr. Morita's deposition, Mr. Steinberg was
unprofessional, obstreperous, and obstructive; his witness
followed his lead and similarly impeded the discovery process.
Frankly, the Court is shocked at their behavior; it is
unacceptable. As one who has served as an expert witness many
times, Mr. Morita should have known that this is not how things
are done in federal court. And, as an attorney, Mr. Steinberg
should certainly have known better. Given his behavior, his
disregard for the federal rules and for this Court's order, the
Court finds that the sanctions imposed today are proportionate
For the reasons explained above, the Court grants Ryder's
motion for sanctions [#133], Morgan's motion for sanctions
[#135], and Maxon Lift's motion for sanctions [#137]. As a
sanction for the behavior of Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Morita at the
May 17, 2005 deposition, the Court bars Mr. Morita from
testifying at trial, and orders Mr. Steinberg to reimburse the defendants for the attorneys' fees and costs they incurred to
have their attorneys attend that disastrous deposition. The Court
denies the plaintiffs' counter-motion for sanctions [#146].
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