Campbell v. Wilkinson, No. 20-11002 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims of discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The district court dismissed the suit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) on the ground that plaintiff's counsel failed to retain local counsel as required by local rules. The court held that dismissal was unwarranted because Berry v. CIGNA/RSI-CIGNA, 975 F.2d 1188 (5th Cir. 1992), sets forth a strict framework that district courts must meet to justify dismissal with prejudice—and one that the district court plainly failed to meet here. In this case, the record shows neither a clear record of delay or contumacious conduct, nor the futility of lesser sanctions, nor any aggravating factor. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings.