Padron v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Soc’y of NY, Inc., 16 Cal. App. 5th 1246 (2017)

Oswaldo Padron sued Watchtower for negligence; negligent supervision/failure to warn; negligent hiring/retention; sexual battery and sexual harassment, etc., associated with his allegedly being molested by one of Watchtower’s agents (Gonzalo Campos) when Padron was a child. Following multiple hearings and motions, the trial court imposed a $2,000 per day sanction for every day Watchtower did not search for responsive documents and another $2,000 per day sanction for every day Watchtower did not produce responsive documents sought by Padron. Watchtower appealed the sanctions order, challenging the trial court’s authority to enter such an order and asserting that it had acted with substantial justification in refusing to comply with the order. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order, noting that “the superior court has shown great patience and flexibility in dealing with a recalcitrant litigant who refuses to follow valid orders and merely reiterates losing arguments.” See also Diaz v. Professional Cmty. Mgmt., Inc., 16 Cal. App. 5th 1190 (2017) (employer and its counsel acted in bad faith by voluntarily seeking an order from the trial court denying their own motion to compel arbitration with the goal of generating pretrial appellate jurisdiction).