Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lane v. NPC International, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

July 1, 2019

JENNIFER ARDELL LANE and CRANDALL DEE LANE, Plaintiffs,
v.
NPC INTERNATIONAL, INC., d/b/a PIZZA HUT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Debra C. Poplin, United States Magistrate Judge.

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Rule 73 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the consent of the parties, for all further proceedings, including entry of judgment [Doc. 9].

         Now before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Dismissal as Sanction for Plaintiffs' Discovery Violations, or Alternatively, for Other Appropriate Sanctions (“Motion for Dismissal”) [Doc. 25]. The Court entered an Order [Doc. 28] directing Plaintiffs to appear before the undersigned on May 30, 2019, to show cause why Defendant's Motion for Dismissal should not be granted. Plaintiffs did not appear at the May 30 show cause hearing. Attorney Erin Gomez appeared on behalf of Defendant. Accordingly, for the reasons further explained below, the Court finds Defendant's Motion for Dismissal [Doc. 25] well taken, and it is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs originally filed their action in Circuit Court for Jefferson County, Tennessee. [Doc. 1-1]. On June 6, 2018, Defendant removed Plaintiffs' Complaint to this Court. [Doc. 1].[1]Specifically, Plaintiffs' Complaint against Defendant seeks damages resulting from Plaintiff Jennifer Lane tripping on an alleged “uneven, broken, misplaced or misapplied flooring” in Defendant's store. [Doc. 1-1 at ¶¶ 4, 7]. Defendant Crandall Lane alleges loss of consortium. [Id. at ¶ 15]. Defendant filed its Answer [Doc. 6] to the Complaint on June 15, 2018.

         On September 10, 2018, Defendant served Plaintiffs with Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. Plaintiffs did not respond to these discovery requests under the time provided in the Federal Rules. After several communications with Plaintiffs' now, former counsel, Attorney Taylor, Defendant received incomplete and unsigned interrogatory responses on February 12, 2019.

         On March 7, 2019, Attorney Taylor and Attorney Gomez appeared before the undersigned via telephone with respect to Plaintiff Jennifer Lane's overdue discovery responses. [Doc. 24].[2]During the telephone conference, Attorney Taylor explained his attempts to contact Plaintiffs and stated that he was having difficulties contacting them. On the same day, the Court ordered Plaintiff Jennifer Lane to respond to Defendant's Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents on or before March 25, 2019. [Id.]. The Court noted that if Plaintiff Jennifer Lane failed to respond to the outstanding discovery requests by the March 25 deadline, Defendant may move for the appropriate sanctions. [Id.]. The Court warned Plaintiff Jennifer Lane that future discovery abuses that approach the magnitude of the previous failure may lead to sanctions, up to and including dismissal of this case. [Id.]. The Court directed Attorney Taylor to send the Court's Order to Plaintiffs via certified mail. [Id.].

         Plaintiff Jennifer Lane did not respond to the discovery requests as ordered by the Court, prompting the instant Motion for Dismissal, which was filed on March 28, 2019. On April 9, 2019, the Court issued an Order [Doc. 28] directing Plaintiffs to appear before the undersigned on May 30, 2019, to show cause why Defendant's Motion for Dismissal should not be granted.[3] The Order also warned Plaintiffs that the failure to attend the hearing may lead to sanctions, up to and including dismissal of this case. [Id. at 2]. Subsequently, on April 15, 2019, Attorney Taylor filed a Motion to Withdraw, requesting that he be relieved from representing Plaintiffs in this case. On May 10, 2019, the Court granted [Doc. 29] Attorney Taylor's Motion to Withdraw.

         II. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

         Defendant moves [Doc. 25] to dismiss this case, or in the alternative, moves for sanctions against Plaintiffs for their continued failure to respond to the discovery requests. Specifically, Defendant requests the Court to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint as a sanction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37. Defendant argues Plaintiffs “have completely disengaged from this lawsuit.” [Doc. 26 at 1]. Moreover, Defendant maintains that Plaintiffs have ignored and failed to correspond with their former attorney. In addition, Defendant emphasizes that Plaintiffs' repeated failures to participate in their own case have wasted the Court's and Defendant's resources.

         Defendant further asserts that Plaintiffs' failure to meet discovery requirements is willful and that Defendant has been prejudiced by such conduct. Defendant argues that Plaintiffs were warned that the failure to cooperate could lead to dismissal of their case and that sanctions less drastic than dismissal would not remedy Plaintiffs' previous discovery abuses. Alternatively, in the event the Court refuses to dismiss Plaintiffs' case, Defendant requests the Court to impose other sanctions permitted under Rule 37.

         III. ANALYSIS

         The Court notes that Plaintiffs did not respond to the Motion for Dismissal, and the time for doing so has expired. See E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.2. (“Failure to respond to a motion may be deemed a waiver of any opposition to the relief sought.”). As stated above, Plaintiffs failed to respond to Defendant's discovery requests or communicate with Attorney Taylor. Further, Plaintiffs did not appear at the show cause hearing, and therefore, they failed to provide the Court with reasons as to why this case should not be dismissed. Accordingly, the Court finds Defendant's Motion for Dismissal [Doc. 25] well taken, and the same shall be GRANTED.

         Defendant moves to dismiss, or in the alternative, for other sanctions as outlined in Rule 37(b)(2)(A). Specifically, Rule ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.