Dreith, et al. v. Nu Image, Inc., et al., No. 10-55172 (9th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendants engaged in discovery misconduct that was sufficiently egregious to cause the district court to enter an order of default against them. Although defendants subsequently challenged the default order as erroneous, defendants did not challenge the order of default by way of a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c) or 60(b). At issue was whether Judge Real, a district court judge, had the power to impose default as a sanction for discovery misconduct and assuming such power, whether Judge Real abused his discretion by imposing default rather than lesser sanctions. The court held that defendants' failures to comply with orders of the court provided Judge Real with the power under Rule 37(b) to impose sanctions sua sponte, up to and including default and that Judge Wilson appropriately revisited previous orders of the court when he replaced Judge Real after Judge Real recused himself. The court also held that the district court possessed the power to impose the sanction of default and that the district court did not abuse its discretion by doing so. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.