A federal judge in Akron has awarded $264,315 in attorneys’ fees to two of our clients in a racial discrimination, national origin discrimination, and retaliation case against the Spitzer car dealership organization. The Court awarded the fees as a sanction for discovery abuses by the Spitzer defendants and their lawyers that interfered with our clients’ right to a fair trial.
More than a week into the January 2013 trial, we learned that Spitzer and its lawyers withheld important documents that were helpful to our clients. Among these documents were notes of the Company’s investigation into the initial internal complaint of discrimination by one of our clients. The notes contained evidence that Spitzer knew our client’s complaint had merit. Defendants were required to provide these documents well in advance of trial, but they did not. When we asked for a copy of the notes during the discovery period before trial, Spitzer and its lawyers stated that they did not exist. Based on their own admissions to the Court, however, Spitzer and its lawyers had the documents the entire time. As a result of these discovery abuses, the Court stopped the trial and granted our motion to recover attorneys’ fees on behalf of our clients. A new trial date is yet to be determined.
It is very unusual to uncover the type of discovery abuses by the defendants in this case. And the award of attorneys’ fees as a sanction — particularly of this size — is rarer still. Because every case is different and must be judged on its own facts, we caution individuals against using this case as a measuring stick to evaluate their own cases. Still, we are gratified to report this favorable result for our clients, and look forward to helping them tell their story — this time with all the evidence — at the new trial.
The case is EEOC v. Spitzer Management, et al., Northern District of Ohio Case No. 1:06-cv-02337.
If you need your story told, call Bolek Besser Glesius to speak to a racial discrimination attorney today.