The CFP Board regularly punishes CFP holders for failing to respond to its investigative overtures. Now two Florida planners are asking a federal judge to force the board to comply with court-ordered discovery requests in their own ongoing lawsuit against the certifying body.

"This case is now effectively at a standstill," wrote attorneys for Jeffrey and Kimberley Camarda, married planners from Fleming Island, Fla., in a motion filed Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

On Feb. 4, an attorney for the board emailed the planners' lead attorney to say it would take the board "about a month" to produce the documents required by a late January court ruling. But a month has come and gone: The board missed a March 15 date proposed by the Camardas, and has not responded to the planners' request to establish an agreed-upon deadline, say the Camardas' lawyers.

The board "has had nearly two months to collect, review and produce documents," lawyers for the Camardas wrote in the motion, "but, to date, no additional documents have been produced in accordance with the court's orders. Nor is [the board] even willing to commit to a deadline by which the documents will be produced."

Board spokesman Dan Drummond said the board was working on the filings. "CFP Board is fully engaged in meeting all discovery obligations related to the litigation in as timely a manner as possible," Drummond wrote in an email. "We have no further comment on the pending litigation."

He declined to explain why the board has not yet agreed upon a deadline or begun to turn over the materials. 

DEFENSIVE EFFORTS REJECTED

Late last year, the board filed lengthy motions with the court seeking protection from the Camardas' discovery requests, saying they amounted to a "fishing expedition" and telling the court that they would not produce information relevant to the case. However, the judge on the case in January rejected the board's efforts to quash discovery.

The Camardas sued the board last year after the body threatened to publicly sanction the Camardas for calling their practice fee-only while also owning an insurance company that takes commissions. At the same time that the board decided to punish the Camardas, it had been permitting hundreds of other planners in large firms -- including insurers and wirehouses -- to use the term on its own website.

As part of the latest motion, the Camardas are also asking for reimbursement of legal costs accrued as they wait to receive documents from the board.

According to the motion, the planners' attorneys, "cannot move forward with depositions, or engage in any pre-trial preparation, until they receive the discovery to which they are entitled."

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