Waltner v. Aurora Loan Services LLC welcomes the New Year with three bread-and-butter issues in business litigation. No. 12-50929 (Dec. 31, 2013, unpublished). First, a party’s failure to answer on time does not require the “drastic remedy” of a default judgment, especially when a plaintiff shows no prejudice from the failure to timely answer. The granting of a default judgment is a discretionary ruling by the district court. Second, damages for lost use of property are not reliance damages that can be recovered with a promissory estoppel claim. Rather, they are consequential losses — a form of expectation damages. Finally, while Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(g)(2) says that a court “must strike” unsigned discovery responses “unless a signature is promptly supplied” after the error is identified, the district court has discretion in determining what is “prompt” and in what weight to give the lack of prejudice to the opposing party.
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