Dismissal not an appropriate sanction

The trial court in Oprex Surgery v. Sonic Automotive Employee Welfare Benefit Plan dismissed Oprex’s complaint for failure to comply with a discovery order; the Fifth Circuit reversed, finding, inter alia:

  • A record of “delay or contumacious conduct” was not established when “Sonic raised no complaint, in a motion to compel or otherwise, regarding the adequacy of Oprex’s responses unitl one hour before the conference” at which dismissal occurred;
  • The time and expense of participating in conferences is not “prejudice to ‘the opposing party’s preparation for trial”; and
  • “. . . given the important due process concerns implicated by a dismissal with prejudice, the court should at leat consider the efficacy of lesser sanctions first”

No. 16-20734 (Aug. 10, 2017, unpublished).

 

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