W.D. Va. Judge grants default for discovery ‘misdeeds’
From the Virginia Lawyers Weekly (May 2, 2011):
A Charlottesville federal judge last month found a defendant mortgage lender had withheld evidence and made false claims in a lawsuit over alleged fraud in a home loan. He reached the boiling point and hit the defendant with default judgment for “misdeeds and misrepresentations.”
The decision by U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon is the latest of several cases that have lawyers asking what’s going on to make judges so angry. Lawyers complain regularly that judges are reluctant to penalize bad conduct by lawyers and litigants. Judges, in turn, practice forbearance and patience because they see that conduct provoking to a trial court may look different in the cold light of an appellate court.
Moon’s April 13 decision in Scott v. GMAC Mortgage LLC (VLW 010-3-440), follows on the heels of a Norfolk Circuit Court’s March 4 sanctions against an auto-accident plaintiff for omitting information about past treatment and employment from his discovery responses, a Richmond federal judge’s March 29 award of sanctions against SunTrust Mortgage Inc. for its “willful blindness” about an employee’s altered email, and an April 18 opinion from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding sanctions by a Newport News federal court for a lawyer’s late motion for recusal.