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Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. v. International Trading Corp.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. (Aura’s) appealed the dismissal of a case against International Trading Corp. due to Aura’s missed deadlines, noncompliance with court orders, and violation of court rules.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A complaint can be voluntarily dismissed for failure to prosecute based on the plaintiff’s missed deadlines, noncompliance with court orders, and violation of court rules.

    Facts.

    Aura Lamp & Lighting Inc. (Aura) sued International Trading Corp. (ITC) for breach of contract and patent infringement. Aura was permitted to amend the complaint for inadequate assertion of diversity jurisdiction but failed to do so. ITC sought to dismiss but the court accepted Aura Lamp’s late brief. Aura Lamp failed to respond to ITC’s discovery requests so ITC greed to two extensions that were missed by Aura. ITC moved for dismissal due to Aura’s missed deadlines, noncompliance with court orders, and violation of court rules. Aura appealed.

    Issue.

    Whether a complaint can be voluntarily dismissed for failure to prosecute based on the plaintiff’s missed deadlines, noncompliance with court orders, and violation of court rules?

    Held.

    Yes. Dismissal was appropriate because Aura missed deadlines, did not comply with court orders, and violated court rules.The judge warned Aura that she was considering dismissal and did not provide lesser sanctions because they would prove ineffective.

    Discussion.

    FRCP 41(b) allows a plaintiff’s case to be dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to prosecute. A judge is required to provide an explicit warning prior to dismissal, but is not required to offer a grace period or lesser sanctions.


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