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Strategic Use of Discovery Statutes


Strategic use of the discovery statutes is something CSCG attorneys pride themselves on doing on a case-by-case basis. One such tool that recently proved to be extremely powerful is the Request for Admission (“RFA”).

In June 2023, Mark Collinsworth tried a defamation case with co-counsel, Laila Khosroabadi. The firm’s client was accused of defaming another contractor after our client identified financial fraud by the cross-complainant. During discovery, we served an RFA stating “Admit [Cross-Defendant] did not defame [Cross-Complainant].” The Cross-Complainant denied the RFA. At trial, the court found our client did not defame the Cross-Complainant and issued a defense verdict. Following trial, our client brought a Motion for Cost of Proof Sanctions under CCP 2033.420. This section allows a party to recover all costs incurred, including attorneys’ fees, to prove a fact denied by another party in an RFA. Since the trial court found our client did not defame the Cross-Complainant, the court awarded our client $381,000 in costs and fees as Cost of Proof Sanctions. (See attached Minute Order.)

The case was hotly contested throughout its lifespan. In response to the Motion for Cost of Proof Sanctions, Cross-Complainant argued that the claimed fees and costs were excessive due to the incivility of counsel. However, the court expressly found to the contrary. The court ruled our firm and co-counsel were professional and civil, and it was Cross-Complainant’s counsel’s incivility that caused the fees and costs to be what they were. Thus, the claimed fees and costs were reasonable given the behavior of Cross-Complainant’s counsel.

See Minute Order