• May 5, 2010

What appears to be a simple and straightforward commercial dispute is well into its second year and, for the defendant, its third law firm, Nicollet Cattle Co. d/b/a Horizon International v. United Food Group (“UFG”), plaintiff alleges that UFG had agreed to purchase a substantial amount of meat but then meat prices fell through the floor and the purchase did not seem so appetizing after all (complaint here).

Now, on the threshold of the summary judgment deadline, the fight is intense as to whether UFG’s discovery responses supporting their defense were adequate following the Court’s order for supplemental responses (the defense, in a nutshell being, “Horizon’s paperwork was a shambles and that’s why we cancelled the buy…”).  

Defendant is in the unenviable position of arguing that it complied with discovery but, if it did not, the plaintiff’s suggested sanction is too severe.   (These arguments in the alternative are, of course, standard in litigation but, for lay people, sometimes highlight perceived problem with lawyers (“You cannot prove that I did it.  But if I did it, it was an accident?”).  On the other hand, if the argument fits, wear it?  That is, if the defendant’s discovery response is inadequate, is it really so inadequate that they should basically lose the case due to its inadequacy???)

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