Monday, February 1, 2010

Court reviews dismissal of case without prejudice due to noncompliance of Plaintiff with court orders

MIN GONG v. IDA L. POYNTER (Tenn. Ct. App. February 1, 2010)

Min Gong ("the plaintiff") filed this action against Ida L. Poynter ("the defendant") for injuries she sustained when, as a pedestrian on the sidewalk, she was struck by an automobile driven by the defendant, all as alleged in her filing. The "complaint" was filed pro se in the form of a long letter with approximately 200 pages of accompanying documents.

The defendant served written discovery on the plaintiff consisting of six interrogatories and one document request. The plaintiff submitted an unsworn response in which she objected to answering the defendant's discovery on the grounds that "individuals" are not subject to written discovery and that the information requested was protected by the attorney-client privilege or the work product doctrine. The defendant filed a motion to compel which the trial court granted after a hearing held on January 29, 2009. The order, filed January 29, 2009, compelled "the Plaintiff [to] submit written responses to Defendant's discovery within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order or Plaintiff's suit will be dismissed."

The plaintiff did not appear at the January 29, 2009, hearing, but did file several "motions" of her own. In addition, she sent written notification that she had scheduled the matter for a four-hour trial on April 2, 2009. As to the motion to compel, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant had misinterpreted "Rule 33 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure" and that it is not applicable to individuals. Counsel for the defendant filed an affidavit on March 11, 2009, stating that the plaintiff had not complied with the order and that the plaintiff, as late as March 9, 2009, continued to resist discovery on the grounds previously stated by her. On March 25, 2009, the trial court entered an order dismissing the case "without prejudice." The plaintiff appeals. We affirm.

Opinion can be found at:

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