A Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the city of Los Angeles to pay a $2.5-million fine, ruling in favor of a consulting firm that accused City Atty. Mike Feuer’s office of concealing evidence in a high-profile lawsuit involving the Department of Water and Power.
At a downtown L.A. hearing, Judge Elihu M. Berle said there had been “serious abuse of discovery by the city and its counsel” in the DWP case — actions that merited “considerable sanctions.”
California law allows courts to impose sanctions over discovery misconduct by attorneys. In this case, PricewaterhouseCoopers alleged that the city’s attorneys concealed key documents, and produced unprepared witnesses and false deposition testimony.
PricewaterhouseCoopers attorney Daniel J. Thomasch said at Tuesday’s hearing that city attorneys intentionally dragged out the case by refusing to turn over evidence. The delays resulted in a monetary cost to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomasch said.
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