Federal Court Delivers Brushback to Roger Clemens

A federal judge in New York is threatening to impose sanctions on former major league Roger Clemens for Clemens’ “continued and repeated abuse of the discovery process.” This is a little worse than being tossed from a game by an umpire.

Clemens is the defendant in a libel suit filed by Clemens’ former trainer Brian McNamee. McNamee claims Clemens libeled him when he accused McNamee of lying and manufacturing evidence in connection with McNamee’s claims that Clemens used performance enhancing drugs. Clemens is apparently not producing documents McNamee has requested in the discovery process. 

While it doesn’t make for much drama, in most civil trials, there aren’t a lot of surprises.  A plaintiff files the lawsuit, and is then entitled to obtain documents and other information from the defendant to help prove the case. The defendant can object to the requests, but for the most part, judges allow the parties (the defendant can request information from the plaintiff too) to make broad requests. The process can take months or years in a complex trial.

As Clemens is discovering, the courtroom and the diamond are different environments.  And Clemens has a little less control over his fate than when he was standing on the mound.

Of course, the judge better be careful too. You never know what Clemens might throw at him.