Johnson Trent attorneys Chris Trent and Ara Hardig successfully defended an appeal of a federal district court's decision to impose sanctions against a plaintiffs' counsel and his law firm in favor of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. for the plaintiffs' counsel's violation of the protective order in that case.
In a June, 2012 published opinion, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's award of sanctions in favor of Cooper based on the plaintiffs' counsel's violation of the protective order. The Court held that the protective order in that case was "an order to provide or permit discovery" as the phrase is used in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2), the rule permitting sanctions for a violation of a discovery order. The Court also found no abuse of discretion by the district court in finding the amount of the fees to be reasonable. This victory works to ensure protection of Cooper's valuable trade secret and confidential information and sends an important message regarding the seriousness with which courts consider violations of protective orders addressing such materials.