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Kothe v. Smith

Citation. 771 F.2d 667
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Citation771 F.2d 667
771 F.2d 667

Brief Fact Summary.

Plaintiff sued Defendants for medical malpractice.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Rule 16 was designed to encourage voluntary settlement, but it does not allow judges to coerce settlements.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Failure to concur in what the Justice presiding may consider an adequate settlement should not result in an imposition upon a litigant or his counsel, who reject it, of any retributive sanctions not specifically authorized by law.

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Facts.

Patricia Kothe (Plaintiff) sued Dr. Smith, Dr. Kerr and Dr. Kerr’s corporation, and Doctors Hospital (Defendants) for medical malpractice. Plaintiff discontinued her actions against the last three Defendants, but continued to trial against Dr. Smith.

Issue.

Were sanctions appropriate against Dr. Smith, for delaying the settlement between the parties?

Held.

No, sanctions were not appropriate. The judgment is vacated.

Discussion.

The Court determined that sanctions here were inappropriate because it amounted to coercion, imposing a settlement on an unwilling party, and holding one party at fault for a settlement that required both parties to act.


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