United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
ROBERT F. KELLY, Sr., District Judge.
Presently before this Court is Defendant and Counter-Plaintiff, Pratik Patel's ("Defendant") Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 37(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant, Alkesh Patel ("Plaintiff") has failed to file any response thereto. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted.
Plaintiff filed a Complaint for Assault and Battery against Defendant regarding a physical altercation that took place at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association's Annual Convention and Trade Show held at the Philadelphia Convention Center on March 22, 2014. (See Compl.; Def.'s Am. Answer and Counterclaims.) Defendant filed an Amended Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint with New Matter and Counterclaims alleging Assault and Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Defamation, Trade Libel and Commercial Disparagement, False Light, and Conspiracy. (See Def.'s Am. Answer and Counterclaims.)
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On August 28, 2014, the Court held a Rule 16 conference by telephone setting forth a scheduling order. (Doc. No. 8.) The Scheduling Order mandated, inter alia, that the parties exchange their initial disclosures required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1) starting August 28, 2014, and that fact discovery was to be completed on or before December 26, 2014. (Id.) On March 10, 2015, upon a motion for an extension of time to complete discovery by Defendant, the Court extended the scheduling Order by granting an additional 120 days to each discovery deadline. (Doc. No. 14.) The extension granted, among other things, that the initial disclosures were to be exchanged by December 28, 2014, and that fact discovery was ordered to be completed by April 26, 2015. (Id.)
On March 31, 2015, Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Discovery Responses by Plaintiff Pursuant to Rule 37(a)(3)(A) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See Def.'s Mot. to Compel.) Defendant argued that Plaintiff neither responded to nor objected to his interrogatories and request for production of documents. (Id.) Plaintiff never responded to Defendant's Motion to Compel. On April 22, 2015, the Court issued an Order granting Defendant's unopposed Motion, and ordered as follows:
Plaintiff Alkesh Patel shall provide complete answers to the outstanding Interrogatories and provide complete responses to the outstanding Request for Production of Documents on or before May 6, 2015. Failure by Plaintiff Alkesh Patel to fully comply with this Order may result in the imposition of sanctions, including monetary sanctions or the dismissal of the action.
(Doc. No. 17.) (emphasis added.)
On May 26, 2015, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 37(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 37(b).) In this Motion, he argues that Plaintiff's responses to his interrogatories are unsigned in violation of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(b)(5). (Id. at 2.) He also asserts that many of Plaintiff's answers are nonresponsive or evasive; thereby, frustrating the discovery process and prejudicing his ability to prepare a defense. (Id. at 2-4.) In addition, he states that Plaintiff has not responded to his request for production of documents in any way. (Id. at 3.) In light of Plaintiff's continued noncompliance with discovery and the Court's discovery Orders, including the April 22, 2015 Order, Defendant now moves for an entry of sanctions in the form of dismissal of the Complaint with prejudice. (Id.) Plaintiff has failed to file any response to the instant Motion.
III. LEGAL STANDARD
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(b)(2)(A)(v), courts may dismiss actions as sanctions against a party who fails to obey a court order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
(b) Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
(2) Sanctions in the District Where the ...