law-sanctions-for-discovery-abuse-or-violation | rule 13 sanctions |
A trial court has discretion to sanction a party for failing or refusing to answer questions during a court-ordered
deposition. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 215.1(b)(2)(B).
Cantu v. Maher (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 25, 2009)(Seymore)
(finding of discovery abuse, case groundless and brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment)
(temporary restraining order, multiple proceedings in different courts) (motion for Frivolous and Groundless
Appeal and Motion To Dismiss and Motion for Sanctions are overruled)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Charles Seymore
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Anderson and Seymore
14-07-00584-CV Tony Cantu v. John E. Maher, Thomas Tollett, and Tommy's Seafood Steakhouse
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 1 of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: R. Jack Cagle
RULE 215. ABUSE OF DISCOVERY; SANCTIONS
215.1 Motion for Sanctions or Order Compelling Discovery.
A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all other persons affected thereby, may apply
for sanctions or an order compelling discovery as follows:
(a) Appropriate court. On matters relating to a deposition, an application for an order
to a party may be made to the court in which the action is pending, or to any district
court in the district where the deposition is being taken. An application for an order
to a deponent who is not a party shall be made to the court in the district where the
deposition is being taken. As to all other discovery matters, an application for an
order will be made to the court in which the action is pending.
(1) If a party or other deponent which is a corporation or other entity fails to
make a designation under Rules 199.2(b)(1) or 200.1(b); or
(2) if a party, or other deponent, or a person designated to testify on behalf of a
party or other deponent fails:
(A) to appear before the officer who is to take his deposition, after being
served with a proper notice; or
(B) to answer a question propounded or submitted upon oral examination
or upon written questions; or
(3) if a party fails:
(A) to serve answers or objections to interrogatories submitted under Rule
197, after proper service of the interrogatories; or
(B) to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule 197; or
(C) to serve a written response to a request for inspection submitted under
Rule 196, after proper service of the request; or
(D) to respond that discovery will be permitted as requested or fails to
permit discovery as requested in response to a request for inspection
submitted under Rule 196; the discovering party may move for an
order compelling a designation, an appearance, an answer or answers,
or inspection or production in accordance with the request, or apply
to the court in which the action is pending for the imposition of any
sanction authorized by Rule 215.2(b) without the necessity of first
having obtained a court order compelling such discovery.
When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may
complete or adjourn the examination before he applies for an order.
If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order
as it would have been empowered to make on a motion pursuant to Rule 192.6.
(c) Evasive or incomplete answer. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or
incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.
(d) Disposition of motion to compel: award of expenses. If the motion is granted, the
court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require a party or deponent whose conduct
necessitated the motion or the party or attorney advising such conduct or both of
them to pay, at such time as ordered by the court, the moving party the reasonable
expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney fees, unless the court
finds that the opposition to the motion was substantially justified or that other
circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. Such an order shall be subject to
review on appeal from the final judgment.
If the motion is denied, the court may, after opportunity for hearing, require the
moving party or attorney advising such motion to pay to the party or deponent who
opposed the motion the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion,
including attorney fees, unless the court finds that the making of the motion was
substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
If the motion is granted in part and denied in part, the court may apportion the
reasonable expenses incurred in relation to the motion among the parties and persons
in a just manner.
In determining the amount of reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, to be
awarded in connection with a motion, the trial court shall award expenses which are
reasonable in relation to the amount of work reasonably expended in obtaining an
order compelling compliance or in opposing a motion which is denied.
(e) Providing person's own statement. If a party fails to comply with any person's
written request for the person's own statement as provided in Rule 192.3(h), the
person who made the request may move for an order compelling compliance. If the
motion is granted, the movant may recover the expenses incurred in obtaining the
order, including attorney fees, which are reasonable in relation to the amount of work
reasonably expended in obtaining the order.
215.2 Failure to Comply with Order or with Discovery Request.
(a) Sanctions by court in district where deposition is taken. If a deponent fails to appear or
to be sworn or to answer a question after being directed to do so by a district court in the
district in which the deposition is being taken, the failure may be considered a contempt of
(b) Sanctions by court in which action is pending. If a party or an officer, director, or
managing agent of a party or a person designated under Rules 199.2(b)(1) or 200.1(b) to
testify on behalf of a party fails to comply with proper discovery requests or to obey an order
to provide or permit discovery, including an order made under Rules 204 or 215.1, the court
in which the action is pending may, after notice and hearing, make such orders in regard to
the failure as are just, and among others the following:
(1) an order disallowing any further discovery of any kind or of a particular kind by the
(2) an order charging all or any portion of the expenses of discovery or taxable court
costs or both against the disobedient party or the attorney advising him;
(3) an order that the matters regarding which the order was made or any other designated
facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with
the claim of the party obtaining the order;
(4) an order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated
claims or defenses, or prohibiting him from introducing designated matters in
(5) an order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until
the order is obeyed, or dismissing with or without prejudice the action or proceedings
or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party;
(6) in lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order treating as a
contempt of court the failure to obey any orders except an order to submit to a
physical or mental examination;
(7) when a party has failed to comply with an order under Rule 204 requiring him to
appear or produce another for examination, such orders as are listed in paragraphs
(1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) of this subdivision, unless the person failing to comply shows
that he is unable to appear or to produce such person for examination.
(8) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, the court shall require the
party failing to obey the order or the attorney advising him, or both, to pay, at such
time as ordered by the court, the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, caused
by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that
other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. Such an order shall be
subject to review on appeal from the final judgment.
(c) Sanction against nonparty for violation of Rules 196.7 or 205.3. If a nonparty fails to
comply with an order under Rules 196.7 or 205.3, the court which made the order may treat
the failure to obey as contempt of court.
215.3 Abuse of Discovery Process in Seeking, Making, or Resisting Discovery.
If the court finds a party is abusing the discovery process in seeking, making or resisting discovery
or if the court finds that any interrogatory or request for inspection or production is unreasonably
frivolous, oppressive, or harassing, or that a response or answer is unreasonably frivolous or made
for purposes of delay, then the court in which the action is pending may, after notice and hearing,
impose any appropriate sanction authorized by paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (8) of Rule
215.2(b). Such order of sanction shall be subject to review on appeal from the final judgment.
215.4 Failure to Comply with Rule 198
(a) Motion. A party who has requested an admission under Rule 198 may move to determine
the sufficiency of the answer or objection. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or
incomplete answer may be treated as a failure to answer. Unless the court determines that an
objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an
answer does not comply with the requirements of Rule 198, it may order either that the
matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The provisions of Rule 215.1(d)
apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
(b) Expenses on failure to admit. If a party fails to admit the genuineness of any document or
the truth of any matter as requested under Rule 198 and if the party requesting the admissions
thereafter proves the genuineness of the document or the truth of the matter, he may apply
to the court for an order requiring the other party to pay him the reasonable expenses incurred
in making that proof, including reasonable attorney fees. The court shall make the order
unless it finds that (1) the request was held objectionable pursuant to Rule 193, or (2) the
admission sought was of no substantial importance, or (3) the party failing to admit had a
reasonable ground to believe that he might prevail on the matter, or (4) there was other good
reason for the failure to admit
215.5 Failure of Party or Witness to Attend to or Serve Subpoena; Expenses.
(a) Failure of party giving notice to attend. If the party giving the notice of the taking of an
oral deposition fails to attend and proceed therewith and another party attends in person or
by attorney pursuant to the notice, the court may order the party giving the notice to pay such
other party the reasonable expenses incurred by him and his attorney in attending, including
reasonable attorney fees.
(b) Failure of witness to attend. If a party gives notice of the taking of an oral deposition of
a witness and the witness does not attend because of the fault of the party giving the notice,
if another party attends in person or by attorney because he expects the deposition of that
witness to be taken, the court may order the party giving the notice to pay such other party
the reasonable expenses incurred by him and his attorney in attending, including reasonable