Q: We were asked a lot of written questions in discovery, but many are far afield. The other side filed a motion arguing we must provide all the information, and asked the court to sanction us for $3,500. On what basis could the court sanction us?

-M.D., Long Beach

Ron Sokol

A: Sanctions on discovery motions may be issued by the court — against one side or the other — if the court finds that the conduct of the party was not “substantially justified.” You do not provide all the circumstances pertaining to the matter, but if you and your counsel acted in good faith, timely responded and made real effort to work things out (to no avail), sanctions should not be likely against you.

Q: If a party in a civil case seeks highly intrusive information, do you have to comply?  You can’t keep anything confidential?

-B.N., Newhall

A: When a party overreaches, seeks to require details that go beyond the pale, or seeks information entitled to confidentiality, you are entitled to ask the court for a protective order. The court has discretion to grant such an order, and to thereby foreclose the effort to require disclosure, or to fashion an order that permits disclosure subject to certain conditions (eg., the matter is only available to certain people, and/or may be submitted under seal, pending further court order).

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