The Defendants attorney defied a court order to submit interrogatories in a civil case within ten days after the Plaintiff filed her amended complaint. The Plaintiff filed a motion for default, contempt and sanctions and was instructed by the judge's office to set up a hearing on the motion with the defense, but the defense refused to work with the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff notified the judge and a hearing was set on the motion for default, contempt and sanctions. What could the Plaintiff expect now? What sort of punishment would the attorney be looking at and what statutes and laws in Florida would pertain to contempt of court and/or other laws, including the Florida Bar's rules would pertain to an attorney deliberately defying a court order. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The Judge has the discretion as to the sanctions he will impose. Impossible to answer for you what will happen.. More details are needed about the exact Order and any responses which have now been filed or are filed explaining why the answers were delayed. By the way, it is not the attorney who completed interrogatories it is the party and likely the sanctions will be imposed against the party not the attorney unless the attorney failed to file completed interrogatories. Discuss it with an attorney.
The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices.
That you don't have any idea of what to expect is a sure sign that you are in over your head in litigation. In any game where you cannot anticipate your opponents next move, you are most likely to lose with any perceived "win" simply being random as opposed to orchestrated. For example, you already have emotionally charge enhancements to the facts which can lead to a great deal of frustration and poor decision making i.e. repeated use of the word "defied" and "delibertately defied" in regard to the lawyers actions. I have every confidence you zero evidence of such willfulness on the part of the attorney and yet you speak of it as a foregone conclusion.
I'm only guessing that the interrogatories were not submitted and you made a good faith effort to contact the attorney to submit them. The attorney did not respond and a motion to compel was filed. The court granted the motion to compel and the interrogatories were still not submitted. Now you are at the motion for contempt.
Opposing counsel could be playing "rock." Its a technique to force you to drag this case through the court system. It will wear you down and make you give up. Opposing counsel may be taking a risk, but the courts want to make sure the parties have their day in court. The courts also want to make sure a party wins on the merits and not on a technicality.
Be patient. It may be frustrating, but only the judge can declare the Defendnat is deliberately defying the court. Its up to you to show the court why those actions are defying the court.
I read Mark's comments and I agree. You have to emotionally separate yourself from the case. Good luck.
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