Malone v. United States Postal Service

833 F.2d 128 (1987)


P sued D for an alleged violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Because P's attorney presented the case in a confused and inefficient manner, the court restricted P's presentation of witnesses and evidence. P made a motion for mistrial. The court denied the motion, later declared a mistrial on its own motion. The district court declared that because of lack of preparation on the part of P's attorney, it had to declare a mistrial. The district court issued a pretrial order on December 13, 1984. The court requested a complete list of witnesses and a 'thorough and complete list of each and every' direct question and anticipated response. The deadline for compliance with the order was April 25, 1985. Trial was set for June 1985. On April 23, 1985, P's attorney informed the Government by telephone that P would not be complying in any way with the order. D had already devoted considerable effort to complying with the pretrial order. On April 26, Malone for the first time filed objections to the pretrial order, requesting recusal of the trial judge, modification of the pretrial order, and a continuance.  On May 1, 1985, D moved to dismiss the action on the ground that Malone had willfully failed to comply with any aspect of the pretrial order. P had not complied with the pretrial order because P lacked the financial resources to do so. The action was dismissed with prejudice on June 10, 1985. P appealed.