Parker v. Wolters Kluwer U.S., Inc., 2007 WL 969436 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007)

Leonard O. Parker sued his former employer (WKUS) and three of its employees for various employment-related torts and breaches of contract. WKUS served Parker (who was in pro per throughout the proceedings) with a set of form interrogatories and a set of special interrogatories. Parker served late and inadequate responses then refused to meet and confer with WKUS’s counsel regarding same. In response to a motion to compel, the trial court order Parker to provide supplemental response, properly verified, within 10 days of its order and sanctioned Parker $2,200. Parker failed to provide the supplemental responses as ordered. In addition, Parker arrived late for his deposition, refused to be sworn or to testify and left, stating “This deposition is over.” In response to WKUS’s motion to compel, the trial court ordered Parker to appear for his deposition, which he did, accompanied by his young granddaughter who was “screaming and hollering” throughout the proceeding. After Parker failed to show up at a second court-ordered deposition, the trial court granted defendants’ motion for terminating sanctions, struck his answer to the cross-complaint and entered his default. The Court of Appeal affirmed the order of monetary sanctions (for Parker’s failure to respond to the interrogatories) and terminating sanctions in favor of WKUS. However, the Court reversed the terminating sanctions that had been granted in favor of the other defendants who had not propounded discovery, who had not joined in the motions to compel Parker to answer the interrogatories or to attend his deposition and who had not suffered a detriment as a result of Parker’s misuse of the discovery process. Cf. Forrest v. California Dep’t of Corrections, 2007 WL 1202456 (Cal. Ct. App. 2007) (trial court properly dismissed discrimination lawsuit filed by vexatious litigant).