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Loop AI Labs, Inc. v. Gatti

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 24, 2017

LOOP AI LABS INC, Plaintiff,
v.
ANNA GATTI, et al., Defendants.

          AMENDED ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SANCTIONS Re: Dkt. No. 840

          Donna M. Ryu United States Magistrate Judge

         The events underlying this dispute were featured in a National Law Journal article entitled “Lawyers Behaving Badly 2016: Deposition Edition.”[1] An attorney became frustrated and used expletives during a deposition. Then, depending on whom you believe, she either threw a cup of iced coffee, or “lost control of it” in the direction of her opposing counsel. This sanctions motion ensued. The court has considered the parties' submissions and oral argument, and now orders sanctions as set forth below.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves a heated business dispute. Plaintiff Loop AI, Inc. (“Loop”) alleges that Defendants, including Almawave USA, Almaviva S.p.a., and Almawave S.r.l. (the Almawave Defendants) conspired with Defendant Anna Gatti to misappropriate Loop's trade secrets and interfere with its business prospects.

         Valeria Calafiore Healy is Loop's counsel. Thomas Wallerstein represents the Almawave Defendants. The two adversaries have a notably combative relationship. Their discovery disputes have swamped the docket. The court has reviewed many deposition transcripts which illustrate their contentious and cringe-worthy exchanges on the record.[2]

         The events underlying this sanctions motion occurred during the deposition of Roberto Pieraccini on July 15, 2016. Wallerstein took the deposition, and Healy defended it. Proceedings had been underway for less than an hour before things completely unraveled:

MS. HEALY: Objection. That's not the question --
MR. WALLERSTEIN: It's not, Counsel. So please be quiet.
MS. HEALY: Please don't give -- if you say that again, we're going to walk out of this deposition.
MR. WALLERSTEIN: Be quiet.
Q. Sir -- MS. HEALY: I'm going to call the Court. We're going to stop this. I'm going to call the Court. Let's just go. Let's go.
MR. WALLERSTEIN: I don't advise that, sir.
MS. HEALY: Let's just go. I'm not going to be here. I have the video of you insulting me.
MR. WALLERSTEIN: Sir, I don't advise it, but you need to do what you need to do. But it's contempt. You're under an order, a court order to be here.
MS. HEALY: You're not under court order. I'm not going to be here with you --
MR. WALLERSTEIN: I'd be happy to show you the court order, two of them.[3]
MS. HEALY: We're not going to be here with you insulting us. I ...

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