Update (February 27, 2019): Fitting with an “emergency” motion, U.S. Mag. Judge David Schultz lost no time in ruling on the emergency motion for sanctions, discussed below.
Strictly speaking, he denied the motion but, really, he found that “sanctions are appropriate in this instance” but he denied the requested relief, granting alternative and less severe relief. (Why? Why not grant the motion? Maybe Judge Schultz did not want to tarnish Homestar or its “current counsel” with sanctions when (reading between the lines), previous counsel may have borne the lion’s share of responsibility.
Original post (February 11, 2019) (under headline, “What is an emergency?”): An emergency is “an unforeseen combination of circumstances or the resulting state that calls for immediate action,” otherwise defined as “an urgent need for assistance or relief.”
What is not an emergency? 99.999% of what U.S. civil litigators do for a living.
So we would suggest that Minnesota civil litigators be sparing with cries of “emergency.”
Take Homestar Property Solutions, LLC v. Safeguard Properties, LLC (please). On the threshold of trial (and then, again, after trial was postponed for several months), Safeguard has filed two “emergency” motions with the Court about Plaintiff Homestar’s pre-trial document dumps (see here and here).
We tease Defendants Safeguard and Bank of America for their so-called “emergencies.” On the other hand, will U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Nelson (D. Minn.) be more angry at Defendants’ histrionic invocation of “emergencies” or by the Plaintiffs extraordinary delays in its document production?
The Homestar v. Safeguard case has been going for about four years; it has been a complicated mess,which we have covered before. Four years into the litigation on the threshold of trial, Homestar allegedly produced 7 gigabytes of electronic data. Homestar dumped the data on 12/27/18 (Merry Belated Christmas!). Homestar counsel is alleged to have explained that the late dump would not pose a problem for Safeguard because the production was simply emails between Homestar and Safeguard (see here at pp. 2-3). This, Safeguard says, was a false statement. (Id.). Safeguard counsel concludes its “emergency” motion for sanctions:
The deliberate misconduct of Homestar evinces a blatant disregard for the Court, its docket, the applicable rules of procedure, the other parties, their counsel, and basic professional courtesy. This is a disregard that the Court can and should address seriously. Unfortunately, the only viable option available to the Court to address this situation in a manner concomitant with the egregiousness of Homestar’s misconduct: dismissal of Homestar’s claims with prejudice.
We do not think that Defendants faced “emergencies.” They use the term rhetorically to highlight what they, at least, see as extraordinary and egregious wrong-doing by Homestar.
Will Safeguard’s rhetoric “move the needle” or influence the Court one way or another?
Either way, we’d put a heavy wager on the bet that the Court views this entire meltdown of a case as a GOOTCH. (Referring to “dumps” and a “meltdown” are particularly appropriate terms for this case; it is one of many the fetid by-products in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown.)