Tag: Rule 37
  • Proper Notice is Key to a Proper Sanction: New Opinions

    The Court of Appeals has issued two very recent opinions that remind us that parties may not be sanctioned without proper notice.  The party must have notice not only of the fact that sanctions are on the table but also of the specific basis for those sanctions.

    In both cases, the defendant was given a severe sanction that effectively decided the issue of liability in the plaintiffs’ favor.  In neither case did the Court of Appeals suggest that the sanctions themselves were out of proportion to the conduct. The sanctions were reversed because due process demands a degree of notice not provided in either situation. Continue Reading

  • The Harshest of Remedies: Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute

    In civil litigation, delays can seem almost inevitable. Because litigation happens in the real world and not a perfect one, the Rules of Civil Procedure allow a little flexibility.  Within limits, parties are permitted to extend the various deadlines for pleadings, discovery, responses to motions, and other requirements (as a starting point, see Rule 6(b)).  But sometimes parties can simply push the delays too far.  For various reasons some plaintiffs just won’t advance the ball, and for their opponents, the light at the end of the litigation tunnel starts to fade.  When a case languishes for too long without good reason, the court may take action, even to the point of dismissing the case or claim entirely for “failure to prosecute.”  This authority is found in Rule 41(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, which says:

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