Ann Malone (plaintiff) sued the United States Postal Service (Government) (defendant), for violating her civil rights. The matter went to trial in November 1984. After Malone’s attorney presented her case in a disorderly fashion, the judge declared a mistrial. Subsequently, the court issued a pretrial order requiring both parties to identify all witnesses and provide a list of all direct questions and expected responses by April 25, 1985. The court stated that no oral argument or continuances would be allowed with respect to the order. Trial was set to begin in June. The Government worked to comply with the order. Malone’s attorney, on the other hand, informed the Government on April 23 that Malone would not comply. On April 26, Malone objected to the order, requested the judge’s recusal, and sought a continuance. The Government moved to dismiss Malone’s case. At a hearing on May 16, Malone’s attorney stated that she lacked the financial resources to comply with the order. The judge was unconvinced, given other discovery expenditures made by Malone. The court dismissed Malone’s case with prejudice. Malone appealed.