Friday, December 6, 2013

Kothe v. Smith case brief

Kothe v. Smith case brief summary
771 F.2d 667 (1985)

Appellant sought review of an order from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York imposing costs and attorneys' fees pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(f) for failure to settle a case prior to the start of trial.

Appellee brought suit against four defendants in an action for medical malpractice. The trial court recommended settlement of the case. The judge warned the four defendants that failure to settle before the first day of trial would result in sanctions. On the second day of trial, the appellant settled and the trial judge imposed a sanction on the appellant, ordering him to pay attorneys' fees to the appellee.


  • On review the court determined that while Fed. Rule Civ. P. 16(c)(7) encouraged settlement of cases, and Rule 16(f) gave the judge the power to impose sanctions, the judge abused the sanction power by imposing a sanction on appellant only for failure to settle before the first day of trial. 
  • The court therefore reversed the judgment of the trial court and vacated the order.
Judgment of the trial court imposing sanctions against appellant was remanded with instructions to vacate because it was an abuse of the judge's power to impose sanctions.

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