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Rule 215. Abuse of Discovery; Sanctions (1984)
1. Motion for Sanctions or Order Compelling Discovery. A party, upon reasonable notice to other parties and all other persons affected thereby, may apply for sanctions or an order compelling discovery as follows:
a. Appropriate Court. On matters relating to a deposition, an application for an order to a party may be made to the court in which the action is pending, or to any district court in the district when the deposition is being taken. An application for an order to a deponent who is not a party shall be made to the court in the district where the deposition is being taken. As to all other discovery matters, an application for an order will be made to the court in which the action is pending.
(1) If a party or other deponent which is a corporation or other entity fails to make a designation under Rules 200-2b, 201-4 or 208; or
(2) if a party, or other deponent, or a person designated to testify on behalf of a party or other deponent fails:
(a) to appear before the officer who is to take his deposition, after being served with a proper notice; or
(b) to answer a question propounded or submitted upon oral examination or upon written questions; or
(3) if a party fails:
(a) to serve answers or objections to interrogatories submitted under Rule 168, after proper service of the interrogatories; or
(b) to answer an interrogatory submitted under Rule 168; or
(c) to serve a written response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 167, after proper service of the request; or
(d) to respond that discovery will be permitted as requested or fails to permit discovery as requested in response to a request for inspection submitted under Rule 167;
the discovering party may move for an order compelling a designation, an appearance, an answer or answers, or inspection or production in accordance with the request, or apply to the court in which the action is pending for the imposition of any sanction authorized by paragraph 2b herein without the necessity of first having obtained a court order compelling such discovery.
When taking a deposition on oral examination, the proponent of the question may complete or adjourn the examination before he applies for an order.
If the court denies the motion in whole or in part, it may make such protective order as it would have been empowered to make on a motion pursuant to Rule 166b.
c. Evasive or Incomplete Answer. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer is to be treated as a failure to answer.
d. Disposition of Motion to Compel: Award of Expenses. If the motion is granted, the court shall, after opportunity for hearing, require a party or deponent whose conduct necessitated the motion or the party or attorney advising such conduct or both of them to pay, at such time as ordered by the court, the moving party the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney fees, unless the court finds that the opposition to the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. Such an order shall be subject to review on appeal from the final judgment.
If the motion is denied, the court may, after opportunity for hearing, require the moving party or attorney advising such motion to pay to the party or deponent who opposed the motion the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the motion, including attorney fees, unless the court finds that the making of the motion was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.
If the motion is granted in part and denied in part, the court may apportion the reasonable expenses incurred in relation to the motion among the parties and persons in a just manner.
In determining the amount of reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, to be awarded in connection with a motion, the trial court shall award expenses which are reasonable in relation to the amount of work reasonably expended in obtaining an order compelling compliance or in opposing a motion which is denied.
e. Providing Person's Own Statement. If a party fails to comply with any person's written request for the person's own statement as provided in paragraph 2(g) of Rule 166b, the person who made the request may move for an order compelling compliance with paragraph 2(g) of Rule 166b. If the motion is granted, the movant may recover the expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney fees, which are reasonable in relation to the amount of work reasonably expended in obtaining the order.
2. Failure to Comply with Order or with Discovery Request.
a. Sanctions by Court in District Where Deposition is Taken. If a deponent fails to appear or to be sworn or to answer a question after being directed to do so by a district court in the district in which the deposition is being taken the failure may be considered a contempt of that court.
b. Sanctions by Court in Which Action is Pending. If a party or an officer, director, or managing agent of a party or a person designated under Rules 200-2b, 201-4 or 208 to testify on behalf of a party fails to comply with proper discovery requests or to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, including an order made under paragraph 1 of this rule or Rule 167a, the court in which the action is pending may, after notice and hearing, make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, and among others the following:
(1) An order disallowing any further discovery of any kind or of a particular kind by the disobedient party;
(2) An order charging all or any portion of the expenses of discovery or taxable court costs or both against the disobedient party or the attorney advising him;
(3) An order that the matters regarding which the order was made or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order;
(4) An order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses, or prohibiting him from introducing designated matters in evidence;
(5) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing with or without prejudice the action or proceedings or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party;
(6) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order treating as a contempt of court the failure to obey any orders except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination;
(7) When a party has failed to comply with an order under Rule 167a(a) requiring him to appear or produce another for examination, such orders as are listed in paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) of this subdivision, unless the person failing to comply shows that he is unable to appear or to produce such person for examination.
(8) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, the court shall require the party failing to obey the order or the attorney advising him, or both, to pay, at such time as ordered by the court, the reasonable expenses, including attorney fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. Such an order shall be subject to review on appeal from the final judgment.
c. Sanction Against Nonparty for Violation of Rule 167. If a nonparty fails to comply with an order under Rule 167, the court which made the order may treat the failure to obey as contempt of court.
3. Abuse of Discovery Process in Seeking, Making, or Resisting Discovery. If the court finds a party is abusing the discovery process in seeking, making or resisting discovery or if the court finds that any interrogatory or request for inspection or production is unreasonably frivolous, oppressive, or harassing, or that a response or answer is unreasonably frivolous or made for purposes of delay, then the court in which the action is pending may impose any sanction authorized by paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), and (8) of paragraph 2b of this rule. Such order of sanction shall be subject to review on appeal from the final judgment.
4. Failure to Comply with Rule 169.
a. Deemed Admission. Each matter of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted unless, within the time provided by Rule 169, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admissions a sufficient written answer or objection in compliance with the requirements of Rule 169, addressed to each matter of which an admission is requested. For purposes of this subdivision an evasive or incomplete answer may be treated as a failure to answer.
b. Motion. The party who has requested the admission may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the court determines that an objection is justified, it shall order that an answer be served. If the court determines that an answer does not comply with the requirements of Rule 169, it may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The provisions of paragraph d of subdivision 1 of this rule apply to the award of expenses incurred in relation to the motion.
c. Expenses on Failure to Admit. If a party fails to admit the genuineness of any document or the truth of any matter as requested under Rule 169 and if the party requesting the admissions thereafter proves the genuineness of the document or the truth of the matter, he may apply to the court for an order requiring the other party to pay him the reasonable expenses incurred in making that proof, including reasonable attorney fees. The court shall make the order unless it finds that (1) the request was held objectionable pursuant to Rule 169(1), or (2) the admission sought was of no substantial importance, or (3) the party failing to admit had a reasonable ground to believe that he might prevail on the matter, or (4) there was other good reason for the failure to admit.
5. Failure to Make Supplementation of Discovery Response in Compliance With Rule 166b. A party who fails to supplement seasonably his response to a request for discovery in accordance with paragraph 5 of Rule 166b shall not be entitled to present evidence which the party was under a duty to provide in a supplemental response or to offer the testimony of an expert witness or of any other person having knowledge of discoverable matter when the information required by Rule 166b concerning the witness has not been disclosed, unless the trial court finds that good cause sufficient to require admission exists.
Dec. 5, 1983, eff. April 1, 1984. Rule 170 is deleted because this rule covers conduct in violation of Rule 167. The revisions to Rule 168, the deletion of Rule 170, and the provisions of new rule 215 are intended to clarify under what circumstances the most severe sanctions authorized under the rules are imposable. New Rule 215 retains the conclusion reached in Lewis v. Illinois Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau, 590 S.W.2d 119 (Tex. 1979), and extends such rule to cover all discovery requests, except requests for admissions. New Rule 215 leaves to the discretion of the court whether to impose sanctions with or without an order compelling discovery, so that the court will be free to apply the proper sanction order based upon the degree of the discovery abuse involved.
This rule is rewritten to gather all discovery sanctions into a single rule. It includes specific provisions concerning the consequences of failing to comply with Rule 169, and spells out penalties imposable upon a party who fails to supplement discovery responses. It provides for sanctions for those who seek to make discovery in an abusive manner.
|Prior Amendments||Future Amendments|
|Oct. 29, 1940, eff. Sept. 1, 1941||July 15, 1987, eff. Jan. 1, 1988|
|April 24, 1990, eff. Sept. 1, 1990|
|Nov. 9, 1998, eff. Jan. 1, 1999|