Thursday, February 23, 2006

South Carolina Court of Appeals issues opinion on failure to prosecute

In McComas v. Ross, the trial judge dismissed plaintiffs negligence complaint for failure to prosecute. Plaintiffs counsel was notified at 11:00 a.m. that the trial would begin at 2 p.m. Attempts to contact the plaintiff were unsuccessful and she did not arrive at the court house until 4:30 p.m. During the interim, the plaintiff's lawyer had made opening statements and called other witnesses to testify. The trial court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute prior to plaintiff's arrival and the plaintiff appealed.

The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that dismissal was too harsh of a sanction based on the facts and therefore the trial judge abused his discretion.

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