Malpractice suit dismissed as sanction for divorcee-client's failure to provide discovery
Anna Rozenberg sued her lawyers and accountants, claiming that they negligently undervalued the marital estate in her divorce action. She claimed that her husband's two businesses generated more income and benefits than her experts acknowledged, and that they "should have known" of the difference. The defendants filed interrogatories and requests to produce attempting to investigate the allegations, and Ms. Rozenberg--acting as her own lawyer--failed to answer them in a timely manner.
Eventually the trial judge dismissed her claim in its entirety as a sanction for failing to provide discovery and she appealed. She argued a lesser sanction would have been appropriate and that the judge abused his discretion. The higher court upheld the dismissal, finding that some of her failure was willful, the judge had exercised adequate patience in anticipating replies, and the defendants had been prejudiced by her delay.