United States District Court, D. Kansas
J. JAMES U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
November 22, 2017, the Court granted Relator's Motion to
Compel Production of Responses to Relator's Fifth
Requests for Production to Defendant and directed Defendant to
provide supplemental responses to four Requests for
Production without objections. The Court also determined that
Defendant should pay Plaintiff's reasonable expense and
attorney's fees incurred in making the motion. To assist
the Court in determining the proper amount of the award, the
Court ordered Plaintiff to file a response setting forth the
amount she requests, along with an affidavit itemizing the
expenses and attorney's fees she incurred in bringing the
motion. The Court permitted Defendant to respond.
counsel submitted affidavits which state that Plaintiff
incurred approximately$20, 600.00 in fees as a result of
Defendant's objections to and failure to produce
documents in response to certain Requests for Production of
Documents. Defendant urges the Court to reject
Plaintiff's request for fees. Defendant argues the goal
of deterrence would be frustrated by awarding sanctions,
because Defendant was represented by different counsel when
the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to compel and the
need to deter future uncooperative behavior no longer exists.
Defendant does not address the reasonableness of the amount
of attorney's fees Plaintiff requests.
Court has reviewed the parties'
submissions. Although the Court recognizes that
Defendant has retained new counsel and no additional
discovery disputes have arisen since then, the sanctionable
conduct occurred after many rounds of discovery motions and
after the Court had put the parties on notice that sanctions
would follow further unreasonable behavior. Defendant's
response does not address the merits of Plaintiff's
successful motion to compel nor defend the overruled
objections Defendant posed to the Requests for Production at
issue in the motion.
Court finds a total award in the amount of $10, 000.00 is
reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances of this
case. Plaintiff submitted the affidavits of four lawyers, all
of whom list time for having drafted, reviewed, and/or edited
the motion to compel and/or the reply brief. While the Court
is not criticizing counsel's division of labor, the Court
finds that a reasonable amount of time to evaluate and draft
the motion and reply does not warrant the total number of
hours for which Plaintiff seeks to recover.
Court is imposing sanctions in the amount of $10, 00.00, half
to be paid by Lawrence Memorial Hospital and half to be paid
by Lathrop & Gage, LLP, which represented Lawrence Memorial
Hospital through the time of the discovery dispute. The Court
is unable to determine whether client or counsel or some
combination of both was responsible for continuing to raise
an argument the Court had rejected many times,  maintaining an
objection the Court previously overruled,  or making
unsupported objections that clearly were not
sustainable. Accordingly, the Court holds both Lawrence
Memorial Hospital and the firm of Lathrop & Gage, LLP
responsible for the sanctionable conduct. The sanctions
shall be paid to Plaintiff within twenty (20)
days of the date of this Order.
IS SO ORDERED.
 ECF No. 274. Because the United States
declined to intervene in this qui tam action, the Court
refers to Relator as Plaintiff.
 The amount is approximate because one
of the affidavits requests reimbursement for 9 hours, 22
minutes and 41 seconds of time at the rate of $450.00 an
 See ECF No. 284
(Relator's Motion for Sanctions); ECF No. 290 (Defendant
Lawrence Memorial Hospital's Response to Relator's
Motion for Sanctions).
See ECF No. 274 at 4