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Prosecute Your Case or Risk Being Sanctioned

If you want to go to trial, you’d better prosecute your case.

That’s what the magistrate judge told the plaintiff last week in Guru Denim, Inc. v. Hayes, a counterfeiting case in the Central District of California.

Plaintiff sued defendant, then pretty much stopped participating in the case. This irked the court, particularly when the plaintiff asked for a continuance during the pretrial conference based on the defendant’s failure to provide discovery — which plaintiff had never before complained about.

“Plaintiff has repeatedly displayed dilatory conduct throughout this litigation,” the court found. “Plaintiff made no effort to prosecute this case for nearly sixteen months after filing the Complaint. Plaintiff made no effort to seek a Court order to compel Defendant to comply with Plaintiff’s purported discovery requests. Plaintiff made no effort to seek a continuance from the Court prior to the Pretrial Conference.

“Plaintiff’s conduct, far from being benign, has violated a multitude of provisions of this District’s Local Rules and this Court’s Orders. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require an attorney to be prepared for pretrial conferences. Plaintiff’s counsel was substantially unprepared for the April 26, 2010 Pretrial Conference. When asked about the merits of Defendant’s defense — namely, that Defendant asserts he obtained the goods from Jet Apparel — Plaintiff’s counsel admitted that the was utterly clueless about his client’s interactions with Jet Apparel. It appears that Plaintiff’s counsel has not even conducted the most basic inquiry into the potential factual disputes that were to be tried eight days later.”

For these reasons, the court ordered the plaintiff to show cause why it should not be sanctioned, including monetary fines, exclusion of evidence, and dismissal of its complaint. The court said it would wait to read plaintiff’s submission before deciding if and when the case will proceed to trial.

The case cite is Guru Denim, Inc. v. Hayes, 2010 WL 1734925, No. 08-4493 (C.D. Calif. April 28, 2010).

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