Sunday, April 29, 2012

What A Court Must Consider To Sanction A Party

In Martin v. Maroone Chevrolet of Delray Beach (4D10-5006), the Fourth District again stated the test a court must follow to strike a pleading. The court stated:
Before a court may strike a party’s pleadings as a sanction, the courtmust consider the following factors:
1) whether the attorney’s disobedience was willful,deliberate, or contumacious, rather than an act of neglect orinexperience; 2) whether the attorney has been previouslysanctioned; 3) whether the client was personally involved inthe act of disobedience; 4) whether the delay prejudiced theopposing party through undue expense, loss of evidence, orin some other fashion; 5) whether the attorney offered reasonable justification for noncompliance; and 6) whetherthe delay created significant problems of judicial administration.
The court must also consider whether a lesser sanction would be a“viable alternative.” Id. Whether the litigant was involved in themisconduct is a factor to be weighed in the Kozel analysis, but does notweigh more heavily than the other factors. See Ham v. Dunmire891 So.2d 492, 497 (Fla. 2004). “The Kozel criteria with an emphasis onwhether prejudice has occurred control.” Idat 502.


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