I have often complained that judges don't do enough to discourage misconduct by lawyers during discovery in civil trials, which I think is very important because most civil trials settle on the basis of what happens during discovery.
For this reason, I was glad to read a story in the ABA Journal about a recent case in which a federal magistrate imposed sanctions on New York City because
of the conduct of one of its lawyers during a deposition. The lawyer reportedly made
more than 600 improper objections which lengthened the deposition, may have influenced the answers of
the witness and prevented the witness from answering questions even though there was no basis to do so. The lawyer's conduct was so improper that the lawyer taking the deposition had to interrupt the deposition in order to call the judge’s
chambers to seek guidance.
The conduct was clearly improper, and I am glad the magistrate imposed sanctions. I wish, however, that the sanctions could have been harsher. Unfortunately, given the recent US Supreme Court decision in Goodyear v Haeger, the power to impose sanctions for discovery misconduct is now more limited. I did not like the result in that case, which I think eliminates one of the few ways in which courts can try control discovery abuse, but that is a different and longer topic.
UPDATE 6/4/17: The Law for Lawyers Today has a comment here.