Stevens et al v. U.S. Bank National Association et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DIRECTING Plaintiffs to show cause why the complaint should not be dismissed with prejudice and why they should not be ordered to pay reasonable attorneys' fees within 14 days (c/m to Plaintiffs 10/31/16 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 10/31/2016. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
VALERIE M. STEPHENS, et al.
Civil Action No. DKC 15-1780
U.S. BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
(“Plaintiffs”) filed this action in state court on April 6,
2015, against Defendants U.S. Bank National Association (“U.S.
Bank”) and USAA Federal Savings Bank (“USAA”) (collectively, the
(ECF No. 7).
After removal to the United States
District Court for the District of Maryland and resolution of
some initial procedural matters, a scheduling order was entered.
(ECF No. 32).
Shortly thereafter, counsel for Plaintiffs moved
to withdraw at their request (ECF No. 34), and Plaintiffs were
notified that they were proceeding without counsel (ECF No. 35).
The deadlines in the scheduling order were extended for 60 days
at their request, and the discovery period expired on September
(ECF No. 37).
On June 14, 2016, Defendant USAA filed a motion to compel
documents as to both Plaintiffs, reciting that neither Plaintiff
(ECF No. 38).
Neither Plaintiff filed a response to
the motion and, on July 6, it was granted.
(ECF No. 39).
Plaintiffs were ordered to provide full responses no later than
discovery could result in dismissal of their complaint and an
Plaintiffs still had not responded to the discovery requests,
(ECF No. 41).
Defendant U.S. Bank filed a similar
motion on August 29 (ECF No. 42), and the scheduling order was
conferred or attempted to confer with Plaintiffs in an effort to
resolve these issues without court action.
42-1 ¶ 4).
(ECF Nos. 41, at 13;
Plaintiffs’ responses in opposition were due by
September 2 and September 15, but again, Plaintiffs have not
responded to either motion.
abandoned this litigation.
Plaintiffs have provided no response
to Defendant USAA’s discovery requests, and accordingly did not
comply with the court’s order granting Defendant USAA’s motion
(ECF No. 41 ¶ 15).
They have failed to appear at or
reschedule their depositions.
(ECF Nos. 41 ¶¶ 16-17, 22-24; 41-
6; 42, at 4-5; 42-1 ¶¶ 8, 10).
Obviously, this case cannot
proceed if Plaintiffs do not participate in discovery.
party fails to obey an order to provide discovery or fails to
appear for her own deposition, the sanctions available include
party . . . to
including attorney’s fees, caused by the failure, unless the
failure was substantially justified or other circumstances make
an award of expenses unjust.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v), (C);
id. 37(d)(3); see also Hathcock v. Navistar Int’l Transp. Corp.,
circumstances, and is guided by the application of a four factor
(1) whether the noncomplying party acted in
bad faith; (2) the amount of prejudice his
noncompliance caused his adversary, which
necessarily includes an inquiry into the
materiality of the evidence he failed to
produce; (3) the need for deterrence of the
In addition, Plaintiffs have failed to respond to
Defendant U.S. Bank’s interrogatories, requests for production
of documents, and requests for admission. (ECF Nos. 42, at 3-4;
42-1 ¶¶ 4-5, 9).
particular sort of noncompliance; and (4)
the effectiveness of less drastic sanctions.
[Wilson v. Volkswagen of Am., Inc., 561 F.2d
494, 503-06 (4th Cir. 1977)].
Such an evaluation will insure that
only the most flagrant case, where the
party’s noncompliance represents bad faith
and callous disregard for the authority of
the district court and the Rules, will
result in the extreme sanction of dismissal
or judgment by default.
Id. at 504.
such cases, not only does the noncomplying
party jeopardize his or her adversary’s case
by such indifference, but to ignore such
bold challenges to the district court’s
power would encourage other litigants to
flirt with similar misconduct.
Hockey League v. Metro. Hockey Club Inc.,
427 U.S. 639, 643 (1976)]; Wilson, 561 F.2d
Mut. Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n v. Richards & Assocs., Inc., 872
F.2d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 1989).
Procedure, a court order, and repeated warnings that they could
be subject to sanctions, including dismissal (see ECF Nos. 39;
44), Plaintiffs have not participated in the discovery process.
Discovery has now closed, and it appears that Plaintiffs do not
Accordingly, it is this 31st day of October, 2016, by the United
complaint should not be dismissed with prejudice and
attorneys’ fees within fourteen (14) days;
opportunity to file a request for fees; and
The clerk will transmit copies of this Memorandum and
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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