February 6, 2014: South Dakaota District Court ruling re amount of sanctions (attorney fees) for motion to compel discovery that was granted “in part”.
The moving parting had sought $14,710 in sanctions for the amount of attorney fees allegedly incurred in bring a motion to compel compliance with discovery that was granted “in part” by the court. While the amount of sanctions ordered lies within the discretion of the court, that discretion is subject to a requirement that the circumstances of the case not make the amount ordered unjust. In the subject case, the motion had only been granted in part and the hearing was combined with another hearing on an unrelated issue. The court ruled that when the motion is granted in part, the award for sanctions can be apportioned and the considering factors on the amount awarded are: (1) the “loadstar” (calculated by multiplying the number of hours reasonably expended by the reasonable hourly rate; and (2) adjustments to the loadstar based on other criteria set forth in other cases. The court also ruled that the party seeking award has the burden of justifying the reasonableness of the hourly rate and the time expended. In this case the court reduced the sanctions to $2,942.00.
See case decision: Waubay Lake Farmers Assn v BNSF Railway Co