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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:By petition for writ of mandamus, the relator, Supportkids Inc. (Supportkids), challenges the trial court’s orders of July 3, 2002, and July 24, 2002, imposing sanctions on Supportkids for failing to timely and fully answer two interrogatories propounded by the real party in interest, Cynthia Morris. HOLDING:The court conditionally grants the petition for writ of mandamus, in part, and orders the trial court to vacate the portions of its orders of July 3, 2002, and July 24, 2002, requiring Supportkids to produce the addresses and phone numbers of all persons with whom it has entered into a contract in Texas for the purpose of collecting past due child support from 1991 to the present, and imposing a potential daily sanction of $5,000 for non-compliance. The court denies the petition for writ of mandamus as to all other portions of the trial court’s July 3, 2002, and July 24, 2002, orders. The trial court, in its July 3, 2002 order, required Supportkids, as a sanction, to produce its entire Texas client list. The trial court expressed on the record that it ordered this sanction in response to Supportkids’ failure to “completely and fully” comply with the Feb. 12, 2002, order. This sanction was “directly related” to the alleged offensive conduct. As to whether this sanction was excessive, Morris argues that, in light of the variety of sanctions the trial court could have chosen, it merely required Supportkids to produce otherwise discoverable information, and the sanction was not excessive. In its belated answers to interrogatory number two, Supportkids identified only 29 former clients, not including Morris, who had complained directly or indirectly about Supportkids’ services since 1991. The trial court’s sanction, requiring Supportkids to produce a list of approximately 18,000 additional names, addresses and telephone numbers was extremely harsh. The sanction was far more severe than necessary to appropriately deter Supportkids from future discovery abuse. In fact, when first presented with the question of whether such information was discoverable, the trial court considerably narrowed the scope of the information discoverable by Morris, as reflected in the court’s February 12, 2002, order. Moreover, the record indicates that the trial court did not consider either the availability of less stringent sanctions or whether such lesser sanctions would fully promote compliance. The court holds that the portion of the trial court’s July 3, 2002, order compelling Supportkids to produce, as a sanction, the addresses and phone numbers of all persons with whom it has entered into a contract in Texas for the purpose of collecting past due child support from 1991 to the present was an excessive sanction and constituted an abuse of discretion. Furthermore, because the sanction compels the production of information that imposes a burden on Supportkids “far out of proportion to any benefit” that may obtain to Morris, the court holds that Supportkids does not have an adequate remedy by appeal to cure the error. In its July 24, 2002, order, the trial court found that Supportkids had failed to comply with the court’s July 3, 2002, order. The trial court again ordered Supportkids to produce, within one week, the information concerning its clients, and further ordered Supportkids to pay the Chambers County District Clerk, as a sanction, $5,000 per day “until these materials are provided to [Morris's] counsel.” The portions of the trial court’s July 24, 2002, order requiring Supportkids to produce the same information and imposing a potential daily sanction of $5,000 also constituted an abuse of discretion for which Supportkids does not have an adequate remedy by appeal. OPINION:Jennings, J.

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