Permanent dismissal is too harsh a sanction for late arrival to court
The Court of Appeals returned Nurah Petross' case to the trial court level after it had been summarily dismissed by the trial judge. Petross was 90 minutes late on the first day of trial, so the judge dismissed her case, without considering her history of non-compliance, prejudice to the other party, her explanation, or any other potential sanction.
She appealed, and the higher court pointed out that the final dismissal was an over-reaction, not warranted by a finding of facts, and therefore an abuse of discretion. Since the woman had no history of failing to follow orders or of failing to appear, and since her failure was not intentional, the court should have imposed a lesser sanction. The higher court also overturned the judge's award of $4,000.00 in sanctions to the Defendant.