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Cymain Ghana Limited v. Pacific Atlantic Lines

May 29, 2012

CYMAIN GHANA LIMITED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PACIFIC ATLANTIC LINES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BACKGROUND

On January 5, 2011, plaintiff, Cymain Ghana Limited ("plaintiff") filed the Complaint. On January 10, 2011, defendant, Pacific Atlantic Lines, Inc. ("defendant") filed an Answer with affirmative defenses.*fn1

On January 21, 2011, the Court entered an Order, scheduling an initial conference for March 3, 2011. The January 21st Order directed the parties to exchange initial disclosures pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26. The Order further advised that all parties who were not appearing pro se must be represented by counsel. Additionally, the Order emphasized that failure to comply with the terms therein may result in the imposition of sanctions. On March 1, 2011, this Court entered an Order adjourning the initial conference until March 17, 2011.

On March 17, 2011, counsel for both plaintiff and defendant participated in the conference. On March 17, 2011, the Court issued a Pretrial Scheduling Order ("Scheduling Order") which set forth, among other things, deadlines for completing discovery. The Scheduling Order required the parties to serve interrogatories by April 1, 2011 and respond within 30 days of receipt. The Scheduling Order also set a telephone status conference for June 13, 2011, which was later adjourned until June 29, 2011. The Scheduling Order emphasized that failure to comply with the Order would result in sanctions pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f) and 37.

On June 29, 2011, counsel for both plaintiff and defendant participated in the telephone status conference. Following the conference call, this Court entered an Order extending the deadline for fact discovery to August 1, 2011, and for filing summary judgment motions to September 15, 2011.

In his letter of July 26, 2011, defense counsel advised the Court that plaintiff had not provided adequate answers to written discovery as directed by the Court in its January 21st Scheduling Order. As such, defense counsel requested permission to file a motion to compel discovery and to extend the August 1st discovery deadline.

On July 27, 2011, this Court issued an Order, directing both parties to meet and confer to resolve plaintiff's allegedly deficient interrogatory answers. The Order further directed defense counsel to advise the Court of any remaining issues by August 12, 2011. Plaintiff was ordered to provide its response by August 17, 2011. The Court scheduled a discovery hearing for September 1, 2011 to address any outstanding discovery disputes.

In his letter of August 12, 2011, defense counsel advised this Court that plaintiff had not provided supplemental discovery answers or a response to defense counsel's letter by the court imposed deadline. On August 24, 2011, plaintiff's counsel wrote to the Court, stating he had not received supplemental answers from his client. Plaintiff's counsel advised he was not confident that plaintiff would comply with its outstanding obligations because plaintiff was pursuing similar claims against defendant in Ghana, Africa.

On September 1, 2011, no party or counsel appeared on behalf of plaintiff at the discovery hearing. On September 2, 2011, plaintiff's counsel wrote to the Court, explaining that he was unable to attend the conference due to a medical emergency and apologized for failing to notify regarding same. In his letter, plaintiff's counsel reiterated that he had not received supplemental answers from his client, and that he did not anticipate his client's compliance with its outstanding discovery obligations.

On September 2, 2011, this Court issued an Order to Show Cause why monetary/reprimand sanctions should not be imposed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f), arising out of plaintiff's failure to attend the court ordered conference on September 1, 2011. The Order to Show Cause was returnable on September 20, 2011. On September 20, 2011, this Court adjourned the discovery hearing until October 26, 2011.

On October 26, 2011, counsel for both plaintiff and defendant appeared at the discovery hearing. On October 28, 2011, this Court entered a Scheduling Order, directing plaintiff to provide more responsive answers to interrogatories, and advising that failure to do so would result in sanctions up to and including dismissal of the Complaint. The Order also scheduled a telephone status conference for January 28, 2012, which was later rescheduled to January 26, 2012.

In his letter of November 18, 2011, defense counsel advised the Court that plaintiff still failed to supplement its interrogatory answers as previously directed by the Court. As such, defense counsel requested dismissal of plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(d).

On December 2, 2011, this Court issued a second Order to Show Cause why monetary/reprimand sanctions should not be imposed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b)(2)(A), arising out of plaintiff's failure to comply with discovery obligations as directed by the October 28th Order. The Order to Show Cause was returnable on December ...


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