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Estate of Wiggington v. Silver

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 12, 2019

ESTATE OF DOUGLAS ALMOND WIGGINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
POLICE OFFICER DILLON SILVER, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         The Estate of Douglas Almond Wiggington brought this lawsuit after Mr. Wiggington died following an encounter with the police in which he was allegedly Tased. Pending before the Court are two motions to dismiss for failure to prosecute. One is filed by Defendant Axon Enterprise, Inc. (“Axon”), the manufacturer of the Taser. [Filing No. 50.] The other is filed collectively by the City of Greenfield; its City Council; and the police chief, Officer Dillon Silver, and Sergeant Rodney Vawter of the Greenfield Police Department (collectively, the “Greenfield Defendants”). [Filing No. 51.] For the reasons described below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motions and concludes that the Estate's Complaint must be dismissed with prejudice.

         I.

         Background

          On April 13, 2018, the Estate filed its Complaint in this Court, alleging a variety of constitutional and state law claims stemming from Mr. Wiggington's encounter with the police in Greenfield, Indiana, which allegedly resulted in his death from being Tased. [Filing No. 1.] On June 14, 2018, the Magistrate Judge entered a Case Management Plan (“CMP”) setting forth various deadlines to facilitate the orderly development of this matter. [Filing No. 30.] Since that time, however, the Estate has failed to comply with many of the CMP deadlines and discovery obligations.

         A. Case Management Plan Obligations

         The CMP in this matter required the Estate to serve their initial disclosures, preliminary witness and exhibit lists, and settlement demand by their respective deadlines of August 13, August 20, and September 13, 2018. [Filing No. 30 at 4.] The Estate failed to comply with these deadlines. On October 2, 2018, the Magistrate Judge directed the Estate to serve the untimely filings by October 12, 2018. [Filing No. 44.] The Estate ultimately partially complied with this extended deadline, as it served its initial disclosures and witness and exhibit lists on October 12, 2018. [Filing No. 45; Filing No. 46; Filing No. 47.] The Estate failed, however, to serve its settlement demand and statement of special damages.

         B. Discovery Obligations

         The Estate likewise failed to comply with its discovery obligations throughout the pendency of this case. On June 22, 2018, the Greenfield Defendants served the Estate with interrogatories and requests for production. [Filing No. 51-4 at 1.] Despite receiving an extension to September 7, 2018, the Estate failed to serve the required discovery responses. [Filing No. 33.] A further email request for discovery responses sent on September 23, 2018 likewise went unanswered. [Filing No. 51-1.]

         On July 6, 2018, Axon served the Estate with interrogatories and requests for production. [See Filing No. 38 at 2.] On August 20, 2018, the Court denied the Estate's motion to extend the response deadline because the motion to extend was filed after the deadline had expired. [Filing No. 39.]

         On October 5, 2018, following a status conference with the parties, the Magistrate Judge directed the Estate to “promptly confer with defense counsel regarding responses to outstanding discovery responses.” [Filing No. 44.] Despite numerous follow-up emails from both the Greenfield Defendants and Axon requesting that the Estate comply with its discovery obligations, [see Filing No. 50-2; Filing No. 50-2; Filing No. 51-1; Filing No. 51-2; Filing No. 51-3; Filing No. 51-4], the Estate failed to respond to either party's discovery requests. Defendants were unable to schedule depositions of the Estate's witnesses without responses to the discovery requests. [See Filing No. 51-3 at 1; Filing No. 50-2 at 2.]

         C. Motions to Dismiss

          On November 30, 2018, Axon filed its Motion for Dismissal, [Filing No. 50], and on December 11, 2018, the Greenfield Defendants filed a similar Motion for Dismissal joining in Axon's Motion, [Filing No. 51]. Under Local Rule 7-1(c)(3), the Estate had 14 days to respond. S.D. Ind. 7-1(c)(3)(A). The Estate failed to respond by the deadline ...


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