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Clark Hill Litigation Team Secures Default Judgment Sanction in Breach of Contract Dispute

May 13, 2024

Pittsburgh Member Alex Hershey and Washington, DC, Associate Jack McCaffrey successfully represented Repco II, Inc., in its case against Elite Lighting before the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. This month, the Court entered a default judgment in favor of our client of over $453,000 as a discovery sanction after determining that it was the “only appropriate sanction against Defendant for its willful and egregious misconduct.”

Repco, a Pittsburgh-based lighting sales representative, filed the lawsuit against Elite Lighting, a California-based lighting manufacturer and distributor, for breach of contract and failure to make significant outstanding commission payments. The claim asserted an entitlement to commissions on both sales made by Repco as well as sales made directly into the designated territory by Elite Lighting. While Elite treated commissions on Repco’s sales as a calculation dispute, it contested Repco’s ability to claim any commissions on sales made directly.

Elite Lighting refused, based in part upon its legal position, to participate fully in the discovery process, instead producing only limited commercial documentation over a nearly seven-month period and failing to produce complete responses to Repco’s discovery requests.  Even after the Court entered multiple orders setting three separate deadlines for a complete production and imposed a daily penalty of $1,000 per day, Elite Lighting still failed to comply with the rules and orders governing discovery.  Ultimately, following a hearing on the Court’s Order to Show Cause, a default judgment of almost a half million dollars was entered, including calculated commissions, daily penalties, and fee sanctions awarded to our client.

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