Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Surprise! Central Mfg. Co. Sanctioned for Non-Compliance with TTAB Discovery Order

As White Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson would say, "you can put it on the board." Leo Stoller's company, Central Mfg. Co., chalked up another TTAB sanction to add to Mr. Stoller's growing collection (see here, here, and here). Our favorite Board found that Central failed to comply fully with a Board order compelling it to respond completely to Dreamworks' interrogatories and document requests. Central Mfg. Co. v. Dreamworks L.L.C., Opposition No. 91156858 (November 4, 2005) [not citable]. [previously discussed here].

Central's efforts to comply with the Board's order were "minimal, at best, consisting of three inconsistent faxed statements." After Central had stated that it had no responsive information or documents further to that previously produced, Central faxed to Dreamworks' counsel 58 pages of documents, without specifying the document request or interrogatory to which the documents were supposedly responsive.

The Board concluded that the faxed documents did not constitute "an effective response to any of applicant's document requests." Instead it took as Central's "operative response" its verification that it had no further responsive documents or information.

The Board therefore ruled that Central is prohibited from introducing at trial the 58 pages belatedly produced, and further that Central may not rely at trial on any information and documents that were properly sought by Dreamworks in its discovery requests and not produced by Central.

"a party that withholds responsive documents or information or, due to an incomplete search of its records, fails to provide a complete response to a discovery request, may not thereafter rely at trial on information from its records which was properly sought by any discovery request of its adversary but was not included in the response thereto (provided that the requesting party raises the matter by objecting to introduction of the evidence in question)."

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2005


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