Nearly 13,000 pages, but a whole lot of nothing: That's what the CFP Board says two Florida planners have produced thus far in the duo's legal battle against the certifying body.
"Approximately 70% of the pages of the documents that plaintiffs have produced are duplicate copies," a lawyer for the board wrote in a filing to the federal court in Washington, D.C.
And about 95% of the single-copy documents are materials already in the board's possession, the board filing says. For instance, the board says the documents turned over by advisors Kimberly and Jeffrey Camarda, of Fleming Island, Fla., include: 17 copies of a 14-page section of the board's own rules and procedures regarding its appeals process; 20 copies of a 41-page motion from the board's disciplinary investigation into the Camardas; and eight copies of the 136-page transcript of the board's disciplinary hearing into the planners' case.
"In short, plaintiffs have produced only a handful of documents that CFP Board did not already have," the filing says.
The board has been trying to compel the husband-and-wife planners to turn over sweeping documentation about their practice as part of an ongoing legal fight between the two parties.
The Camardas, meanwhile, are awaiting a judge's ruling on precisely what they must produce.
"The CFP Board's filing accusing us of not complying with their discovery obligations is misleading," the couple's spokesman Donald Hannaford says in an email. "Duplicates of documents are routinely included as they appear in a litigant's files."
Meanwhile, the Camardas counter that many of the 375,000 documents that the board "dumped" on them on May 23 also are duplicates.
Moreover, the board had produced no documents of substance during the 11 months following the filing of the suit in June 2013, the Camardas' lawyers write in another court filing.
The fight, expected to come to trial later this year or early next, centers on whether or not the board may publicly sanction the Camardas for allegedly breaking its rules for use of the term fee-only. The Camardas accuse the board of practicing an uneven disciplinary process, among other charges.
The board this year admitted it had made a mistake last year by allowing hundreds of wirehouse and other advisors in large firms to break its rules for use of the term on its own website. At the time, the board was also investigating and seeking to punish other advisors for similar infractions.
SCOPE OF DISCOVERY
Both sides have been peppering the court with back-and-forth motions seeking to define the scope of documentation that the Camardas must produce.
Earlier this year, the board failed in its effort to convince Judge Richard Leon, who is presiding over the case, to scrap many of the Camardas' demands for documentation; Leon ordered the certifying body to turn over everything the planners wanted.
He has yet to rule on what the Camardas must provide to the board.
And the clock is ticking.
According to a mutually agreed upon calendar, both sides must complete all "fact discovery" by Oct. 31. Translation: In the next two months, both sides must deliver all required documents and wrap up all expert depositions -- many of which, presumably, would be aimed at explaining items in the requested documents.
The Camardas are seeking to extend that deadline.
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