Rish v. SimaoAnnotate this Case
Respondents filed a personal injury suit against Appellant arising from an automobile accident. Before trial, Respondents filed a motion in limine to preclude Appellant from presenting a low-impact defense in the case. The district court granted Respondents’ motion, concluding that the result was required by Hallmark v. Eldridge. During the trial, the court sustained eight objections by Respondents to Appellant’s questions and evidence as violating the pretrial order prohibiting a low-impact defense. Following these alleged violations and violations of two additional pretrial orders, the district court struck Appellant’s answer as a sanction. The court then entered a default judgment against Appellant. The Supreme Court reversed and ordered a new trial, holding (1) the district court erred in extending Hallmark to preclude all argument of a low-impact defense; and (2) any misconduct by Appellant’s trial counsel did not rise to the level requiring the case-ending sanctions imposed by the district court under BMW v. Roth.