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Salata v. Weyerhaeuser Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 7, 2014

MONIKA SALATA, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
WEYERHAEUSER COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee

Argued June 6, 2014

Page 696

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 10 C 2187 -- James B. Zagel, Judge.

For Monika Salata, Plaintiff - Appellant: Naderh H. Elrabadi, Attorney, Santilli Law Group, Chicago, IL.

For Weyerhaeuser Company, Defendant - Appellee: Michael L. Resis, Attorney, Jill A. Cheskes, Attorney, Smithamundsen, Llc, Chicago, IL.

Before BAUER, MANION, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 697

BAUER, Circuit Judge 

This case stems from a personal injury action brought by Monika Salata (" Salata" ) against Weyerhaeuser Company (" Weyerhaeuser" ). After Salata repeatedly failed to comply with discovery orders, the district court dismissed her case with prejudice for failure to prosecute. Salata moved to reinstate, but the court denied her motion. Salata now appeals and argues that the district court abused its discretion when it granted Weyerhaeuser's Motion to Dismiss and denied her Motion to Reinstate. We find no abuse of discretion, and affirm the district court's order.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 28, 2008, while Salata was cleaning a property owned by Weyerhaeuser, she slipped and fell, claiming loose floor tiles were the culprit. On March 8, 2010, Salata filed suit against Weyerhaeuser in the Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois, alleging that as a result of the slip and fall, she was " severely and permanently injured, requiring her to incur medical expenses, disability, pain and suffering, loss of normal life and wage loss on an ongoing and permanent basis." Weyerhaeuser removed the case to federal court. The parties attempted voluntary mediation, but when they could not reach a settlement, Salata's then-attorneys, Whiting Law Group, Ltd. (" Whiting" ) and Schweickert & Ganassin, LLP (" Schweickert" ), moved to withdraw, citing irreconcilable differences. The district court allowed Whiting and Schweickert to withdraw, and Salata's current counsel, Naderh Elrabadi (" Elrabadi" ) of Santilli Law Group, took over on March 14, 2012. At a status hearing on April 4, 2012, Elrabadi stated that she needed additional

Page 698

time to conduct fact discovery, so the court extended the discovery deadline until May 23, 2012. On April 6, 2012, Weyerhaeuser sent an e-mail to Elrabadi, explaining that Salata's responses to their first set of interrogatories were incomplete. In the e-mail, Weyerhaeuser asked Salata to supplement those responses and to provide overdue responses to their second set of interrogatories. (Salata responded to Weyerhaeuser's first set of interrogatories on October 18, 2010, but provided insufficient responses to numbers 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 20. Weyerhaeuser's second set of interrogatories was initially served on Salata on February 20, 2012; she failed to respond to these interrogatories at all. The first set of interrogatories related to Salata's injuries, claimed damages, prior injuries, and prior litigation, while the second set of interrogatories focused primarily on Salata's income and her ability to work after the accident.) When Weyerhaeuser received no response from Elrabadi, it sent her another e-mail on April 13, 2012, and attached copies of the interrogatories; again, Elrabadi did not respond.

On August 14, 2012, Weyerhaeuser sent an e-mail to Elrabadi, stating, " If we do not hear from you by tomorrow, we will assume that you are refusing to respond to the supplemental discovery and we will have no choice but to file a Motion to Compel." When they received no response from Elrabadi, Weyerhaeuser filed a Motion to Compel on November 14, 2012. At this point, discovery had been outstanding for ten months. The court granted Weyerhaeuser's Motion to Compel, but at Elrabadi's request, allowed her six more weeks to compile the outstanding discovery. ...


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