Collateral Estoppel — Default Judgment Entered as a Sanction for Refusal to Comply with Discovery Order Has Preclusive Effect

Sartin v. Macik, 535 F.3d 284 (4th Cir. 2008):

[E]very federal circuit court to consider the question has held that a default judgment entered as a sanction for refusal to comply with discovery orders has preclusive effect. See In re Ansari, 113 F.3d 17, 19 (4th Cir. 1997) (applying Virginia law); In re Docteroff, 133 F.3d 210, 215 (3d Cir. 1997) (federal law); In re Gober, 100 F.3d 1195, 1203-05 (5th Cir. 1996) (Texas law); In re Bush, 62 F.3d 1319, 1323-25 (11th Cir. 1995) (federal law); In re Daily, 47 F.3d 365, 368-69 (9th Cir. 1995) (federal law). In each case, these courts "d[id] not hesitate in holding that a party . . . who deliberately prevents resolution of a lawsuit[ ] should be deemed to have actually litigated an issue for purposes of collateral estoppel application." In re Docteroff, 133 F.3d at 215.

See also In re Bertolotti (Pogonovich v. Bertolotti), 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 2203 (W.D. Pa. May 17, 2012):

In Docteroff [Wolstein v. Docteroff (In re Docteroff), 133 F.3d 210 (3d Cir. 1997)], the Third Circuit addressed a default judgment entered as a sanction for discovery violations where a party willfully obstructed discovery after participating extensively in the case. See 133 F.3d at 215. Under those circumstances, the court held that a party should be deemed to have actually litigated the issue for purposes of collateral estoppel. Id. However, it should be noted that "Docteroff presents an exceptional rule, not to be applied rigidly in all instances of procedural default." Lincoln Trust v. Parker (In re Parker), 250 B.R. 512, 518 (M.D. Pa. 2000).

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