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Legal Memorandum: Failure to Respond to Discovery

Issue: Whether the court has the authority to strike a Petitioner’s claim for maintenance for a failure to respond to discovery.

Area of Law: Family Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Failure to respond to discovery; Investigation necessary
Jurisdiction: Federal, Minnesota
Cited Cases: 957 F.2d 555; 242 F.3d 815; 427 U.S. 639; 341 F.3d 794
Cited Statutes: Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.04;, R. 37.02(b)(1), (2), and (3); FRCP R. 37(d); Federal Practice & Procedure—Civil § 2284
Date: 05/01/2010

Pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.04,

[i]f a party . . . fails . . . to serve answers or objections to interrogatories submitted pursuant to Rule 33, after proper service of the interrogatories,  . . . the court in which the action is pending on motion may make such orders in regard to the failure as are just, including any action authorized in Rule 37.02(b)(1), (2), and (3). 

Minn. R. Civ. P. 37.04.  The orders provided for in Rule 37.02(b)(1), (2), and (3), as referenced above, include “[a]n order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support . . . designated claims, or prohibiting that party from introducing designated matters in evidence,” and “[a]n order striking pleadings or parts thereof, . . . dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party.”  Id. at R. 37.02(b)(2), (3).   

Rule 37(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure parallels the Minnesota Rule.*FN1  Rule 37 is flexible, and the sanctions enumerated in the rule are also flexible; accordingly, broad discretion must be given to the trial judge with regard to sanctions imposed under the Rule.  See 8B Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice & Procedure—Civil  § 2284 (3d ed. 2010).  Thus, in National Hockey League v. Metropolitan Hockey Club, Inc., 427 U.S. 639 (1976), the United States Supreme Court stressed the limited scope of appellate review of a district court’s decision under Rule 37, […]

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