Civil Procedure Keyed to Cross
Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. v. International Trading Corp.
Plaintiff, Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc., brought suit against International Trading Corp, Defendant, in federal court asserting contract and patent claims. Plaintiff was allowed to amend the complaint’s improper contention of diversity jurisdiction. Nevertheless, Plaintiff failed to amend it until Plaintiff was threatened with dismissal. Defendant motioned for a dismissal or transfer, but the court denied the motion and accepted Plaintiffs brief, even though it was tardy over Defendant’s objection. Thereafter, Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant’s interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission within the thirty day period required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant, subsequently, stipulated to two extensions, which Plaintiff also failed to timely meet the deadline. Defendant motioned to compel discovery and requested that the request for admissions be admitted. Further, Defendant requested the court to impose sanctions on Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s counsel asserted that said he worked alone and Aura Lamp was a “one-man operation,” lacking resources to comply with the requests. Subsequently, the judge permitted Plaintiff’s lawyer to set the discovery deadline, but continuously warned Plaintiff that she would contemplate dismissal if the deadline was missed again. Plaintiff did not produce any documents and served incomplete responses. Defendant motioned for dismissal, based on Plaintiff’s violation of court orders of noncompliance and failure to prosecute. Plaintiff’s counsel asserted that they conduct was not willful or wanton, but rather, this situation occurred due to “unforeseen circumstances beyond his control.” Moreover, the judge held that one does not need to prove willful and wanton misconduct for granting a motion to dismal for failure to prosecute, and the judge dismissed the case. Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s ruling on the grounds that the court failed to apply the correct standard, requiring a showing willful and wanton misconduct, the court failed to warn before dismissing suit, as required, and the court should have considered less severe sanctions.
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