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Sixth Circuit Court Of Appeals Affirms Dismissal Of Two Consolidated Cases For Willful Failure To Cooperate In Discovery In Appeal Handled By Michael F. Schmidt

Tyrone Smith v Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, docket number 09-2201, involved an appeal by the plaintiff of the dismissal of the plaintiff’s two consolidated suits, the first for $189,000 in allegedly stolen jewelry and the second a claim for no fault benefits and collision damage to the plaintiff’s Corvette from an alleged auto accident. After several discovery motions and hearings, the U. S. District Court dismissed both of the plaintiff’s suits for failing to respond to discovery requests and failing to comply with the magistrate’s discovery orders. The plaintiff appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in a written opinion following oral argument, that the district court properly dismissed both of the plaintiff’s cases and did not abuse its discretion because the plaintiff had exercised bad faith in failing to cooperate in discovery through a pattern of non-compliance, there had been prejudice to Nationwide by compromising Nationwide’s ability to prepare its defense and by the time and money spent in cataloging the deficiencies in the plaintiff’s discovery responses and filing and arguing three discovery related motions, the magistrate had given an express warning in the second written opinion that if the plaintiff did not fulfill the discovery obligations the court would consider dismissing the plaintiff’s case with prejudice and the plaintiff’s failure to pay a $1,000 sanction imposed by the magistrate. As a result, both of the plaintiff’s lawsuits have been dismissed with prejudice.