Sanctions — Barring Litigant from Submitting Evidence at Summary Judgment under Rules 37 and 16(f) for Disobeying Orders and Failing to Attend Scheduled Conferences

Lasisi v. Follett Higher Education Grp., Inc., 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 142 (7th Cir. Jan. 6, 2015):

case ended at summary judgment. Follett moved to strike Lasisi's evidence and statement of facts as a sanction for his failure to answer discovery, as earlier recommended by the magistrate judge. The district judge accepted the recommendation and granted the motion. With no evidence supporting Lasisi's disability claims, the judge granted Follett's motion for summary judgment on them and relinquished supplemental jurisdiction over Lasisi's state-law claims.

 

On appeal, Lasisi first challenges the district court's decision [*6]  to sanction him by barring him from submitting evidence at summary judgment, but we see no error. District courts enjoy wide discretion in supervising discovery and deciding whether to impose sanctions for disobedience of its orders. Hunt v. DaVita, Inc., 680 F.3d 775, 780 (7th Cir. 2012). Furthermore, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 authorizes a district judge to prohibit a party from submitting evidence as a sanction for disobeying a discovery order or failing to participate in discovery. FED. R. CIV. P. 37(b)(2)(A), (d)(3). And Rule 16(f) approves the same sanction against a party who "fails to appear at a scheduling or other pretrial conference" or "to obey a scheduling or other pretrial order." FED. R. CIV. P. 16(f)(1)(A), (C).

 

The sanction here was reasonable. Lasisi repeatedly failed to attend hearings despite warnings from the court that this behavior invited the dismissal of his suit. Lasisi now asserts that he did not receive notice of those hearings. But he not only failed to raise this assertion before the district court, he also did not mention it until his reply brief on appeal, so it is waived. See Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 668 n.3 (7th Cir. 2013). Lasisi also repeatedly defied the court's orders by refusing to answer discovery.

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