Shapiro Arato Wins Sanctions Against Plaintiff in Roc-a-Fella Lawsuit

On December 23, 2015, Southern District Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis granted Shapiro Arato’s motion for sanctions against plaintiff Dwayne Walker and his counsel for refusing to produce discoverable text messages in connection with plaintiff’s lawsuit regarding the Roc-A-Fella Records logo.

In its opinion and order, the Court explained that we had alleged that plaintiff and his lawyer engaged in bad faith tactics to withhold the text messages by, among other things, mispresenting whether the text messages existed and why they were not produced, and forcing our clients to engaged in repeated motion practice and unnecessary means to obtain the text messages from third parties.  Judge Ellis deemed plaintiff’s counsel’s arguments in support of the conduct “unfounded.”  Among other things, Judge Ellis found that counsel had represented on three separate occasions that he had produced all responsive documents; that while he possessed certain messages before various depositions, he did not turn them over until after the depositions had concluded; and that he violated a court order compelling that the texts be produced. Judge Ellis found that the counsel “unreasonably and vexatiously multiplied proceedings over a significant period of time,” warranting sanctions and the payment of legal fees incurred by the defendants as a result of the noncompliance.

The Court’s full opinion and order can be read here.