Monday, September 29, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 113

Summary of Decision issued September 29, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Dollarhide v. Bancroft

Citation: 2008 WY 113

Docket Number: S-07-0236

Appeal from the District Court of Teton County, the Honorable Nancy J. Guthrie, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Robert E. Schroth, Schroth & Schroth, LLC, Jackson, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Scott P. Klosterman, Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, PC, Casper, Wyoming.

Facts/Discussion: Dollarhide (Appellant) challenged the district court’s order dismissing the case for lack of prosecution. He was injured while working for Bancroft Construction, Inc.

Failure to Comply with W.R.A.P. 7.01: Appellees, Bancroft and Shattuck claimed the appeal should be dismissed because Dollarhide failed to comply with W.R.A.P. 7.01. They contend that Dollarhide violated the rule because the title page of his brief identified the filing party as John rather than Jack Dollarhide and because the brief’s appendix does not contain a copy of the order appealed from or a statement of costs. The Court concluded that Dollarhide violated the rule in those respects. Appellees sought dismissal of the appeal for these violations. The Court noted that dismissal was not required in the case and declined to do so.
Dismissal for Lack of Prosecution:
From the beginning, the case moved slowly. The scheduling conference was not held until nineteen months after the complaint was filed. The order issued after the conference established deadlines and Dollarhide appeared to have complied with all the deadlines. The final pretrial conference was set but never held, so that no trial date was set. Instead of holding the final pretrial conference, a motion hearing on summary judgment was held and then the district court took the matter under advisement. Six months later, the court issued an order denying summary judgment. Nine more months passed with no apparent action from the parties or the district court. When Appellees filed another motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution, Dollarhide informed the court that he had tried to arrange mediation of the dispute and had engaged in ongoing settlement negotiations.

Holding: The district court warned the parties that the case would be set on a fast track. Dollarhide complied with all of the deadlines imposed in the scheduling order, and in accordance with that order was ready for trial by the time of the final pretrial conference. Due to no fault of his, the final pretrial conference was never held and never rescheduled and no trial date was set. Despite the slow pace of the litigation, the district court found no prejudice resulting from any lack of prosecution. Under those circumstances, the district court could not reasonably conclude that this was the sort of extreme situation justifying dismissal for lack of prosecution.

Reversed, remanded.

J. Burke delivered the decision.

Link: .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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