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Phillips v. Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

March 29, 1994, Decided ; March 29, 1994, Filed

92 Civ. 8527 (KTD)

Opinion

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JAMES C. FRANCIS IV

UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

In this employment discrimination action, plaintiff Arthur Phillips contends his employment was terminated by the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company ("Manufacturers Hanover") on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1981. He further claims that he was fired because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. He also contends that his termination violated the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. L. § 296. Mr. Phillips, who is a 52-year-old African American man, alleges that the defendant fired him from his position as a programmer in its Network Services Department as part of a reduction in force, while it retained younger, white employees who were not as qualified. Mr. Phillips also seeks relief under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001, [*2]  on the ground that the defendant accelerated his termination in order to award him severance benefits that were lower than those received by white employees.

Mr. Phillips now moves for sanctions, costs, and attorneys' fees against the defendant and defense counsel Christina Berti of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for allegedly abusive, unreasonable, and dilatory behavior during the deposition of Michael Sztejnberg. That deposition was conducted on December 9, 1993, by the plaintiff's attorney, Gareth Stewart. The plaintiff also seeks sanctions on the grounds that the defendant should have produced a witness other than Mr. Sztejnberg, who was purportedly unable to testify meaningfully about the subject matter of the deposition. As bases for sanctions, the plaintiff invokes Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, and the Court's inherent power. As will be discussed below, however, a more appropriate basis for sanctions in the instant case would be Rule 30, as recently amended. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1)-(2).

Discussion 

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1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3748 *; 1994 WL 116078

ARTHUR W. PHILLIPS, Plaintiff, v. MANUFACTURERS HANOVER TRUST COMPANY, Defendant.

CORE TERMS

deposition, sanctions, inherent power, deponent, consultants, notice, bad faith, questions, objected, attorney's fees, clarification, termination, discovery, employees, interrupt, depose, hiring, costs

Civil Procedure, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, General Overview, Discovery & Disclosure, Misconduct During Discovery, Governments, Courts, Authority to Adjudicate, Legal Ethics, Client Relations, Attorney Fees, Depositions, Oral Depositions