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McKeague v. One World Technologies, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
858 F.3d 703 (2017)


Facts

After injuring his hand using a table saw, Todd McKeague (plaintiff) brought a design-defect product-liability lawsuit against manufacturer One World Technologies, Inc. (defendant). The parties filed a discovery plan setting all the case deadlines, which the court approved and adopted as a scheduling order. But after filing initial disclosures, McKeague’s two attorneys did nothing to prosecute his case and missed the deadline to propound discovery. Worse yet, they did not retain an expert, a necessity to get to trial in a design-defect suit alleging a product that functioned properly had a defect not readily identifiable by a layperson. When One World Technologies requested summary judgment on that ground, McKeague’s attorneys asked for a second chance. The judge reopened discovery and pushed back the expired deadline for McKeague to respond to the summary-judgment motion. But the new deadline came and went with nothing filed. Two days later, the court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute. McKeague’s attorneys requested reconsideration, claiming he had just retained an expert who needed more time to review documents the other side purportedly produced one day late. Unimpressed, the judge refused reconsideration. McKeague appealed, arguing the delay did not warrant dismissing the case.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kayatta, J.)

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