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Peoples National Bank, N.A., As A Secured Creditor Holding Notes and Security v. American Coal Company

May 8, 2012

PEOPLES NATIONAL BANK, N.A., AS A SECURED CREDITOR HOLDING NOTES AND SECURITY AGREEMENTS OF P&K BUSINESS CORPORATION AND AS ASSIGNEE OF THE NOTES AND SECURITY AGREEMENTS HELD BY FARMERS STATE BANK OF ALTO PASS AS SECURED CREDITOR OF PJM ENTERPRISES OF MARION, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN COAL COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Peoples National Bank, N.A. ("Peoples"), brings this action as a secured creditor holding notes and security agreements of P&K Business Corporation ("P&K") and as assignee of the notes and security agreements held by Farmers State Bank of Alto Pass as secured creditor of PJM Enterprises of Marion, Inc. ("PJM"), against Defendant American Coal Company ("American"). Peoples asserts a claim upon accounts stated by P&K and PJM against American for services rendered to American by P&K and PJM, as well as a claim for unjust enrichment. Trial in this matter was conducted before a jury on February 7-8, 2012. In the course of trial, the parties agreed that Peoples sought no recovery against American on any invoices by PJM for services rendered to American. See Doc. 76 at 1 ¶ 1. The parties also stipulated to the validity of some twenty-nine invoices submitted to American by P&K for services rendered to American by P&K. See id. at 1-3 ¶ 2. The effect of the stipulation was to remove $340,000.00 from controversy between the parties. The case proceeded to the jury on the matter of the remaining $411,449.75 that Peoples claimed to be owed by American. The jury returned a verdict for Peoples in the amount of $411,449.75, whereupon on February 9, 2012, the Court entered judgment in favor of Peoples in a total amount of $751,449.75, a sum reflecting the $340,000.00 which American conceded at trial that it owed Peoples and the $411,449.75 in damages awarded to Peoples by the jury, together with post-judgment interest and costs. Peoples now seeks as sanctions against American the attorneys' fees Peoples incurred as a result of having to prosecute this case as to the $340,000.00 that American conceded at trial that it owed Peoples. Peoples invokes a number of federal rules and statutes, including Rule 26 and Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and 28 U.S.C. § 1927. Peoples's motion for sanctions against American has been fully briefed by the parties, and the Court now rules as follows.

II. ANALYSIS

A. Rule 26 and Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Peoples seeks sanctions against American for alleged noncompliance with Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires a party to supplement its responses to discovery in a timely manner, when necessary. Concerning supplementation of discovery responses, Rule 26 provides, in relevant part, (e) Supplementing Disclosures and Responses.

(1) In General. A party who has made a disclosure under Rule 26(a) -- or who has responded to an interrogatory, request for production, or request for admission--must supplement or correct its disclosure or response:

(A) in a timely manner if the party learns that in some material respect the disclosure or response is incomplete or incorrect, and if the additional or corrective information has not otherwise been made known to the other parties during the discovery process or in writing; or

(B) as ordered by the court.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(e)(1). Rule 26 is not self-executing, and thus Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part:

(c) Failure to Disclose, to Supplement an Earlier Response, or to Admit.

(1) Failure to Disclose or Supplement. If a party fails to provide information or identify a witness as required by Rule 26(a) or (e), the party is not allowed to use that information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially justified or is harmless. In addition to or instead of this sanction, the court, on motion and after giving an opportunity to be heard:

(A) may order payment of the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, ...


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