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Pope-Gonzalez v. Husker Concrete, LLC

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

December 24, 2013

Teri Pope-Gonzalez, appellant,
v.
Husker Concrete, LLC, appellee.

Page 136

Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: ROBERT R. OTTE, Judge.

Affirmed.

Teri Pope-Gonzalez, pro se.

Brian S. Kruse, of Rembolt Ludtke, L.L.P., for appellee.

Irwin, Pirtle, and Bishop, Judges.

1. Pretrial Procedure: Appeal and Error. Determination of an appropriate sanction for failure to comply with a proper discovery order initially rests with the discretion of the trial court, and its rulings on appropriate sanctions will not be disturbed on appeal absent a showing of an abuse of that discretion.

2. Judges: Words and Phrases. A judicial abuse of discretion exists when a

Page 137

judge, acting within effective limits of authorized judicial power, elects to act or refrain from action, but the selected option results in a decision which is untenable and unfairly deprives the litigant of a substantial right or a just result.

3. Default Judgments: Motions to Vacate. Unavoidable casualty, which rises to a sufficient ground to vacate a default judgment, must be one preventing a party from prosecuting or defending.

4. Effectiveness of Counsel. A pro se litigant is held to the same standards as one who is represented by counsel.

5. Effectiveness of Counsel. Although people have a right to represent themselves, the trial court also has inherent powers to compel conformity to Nebraska procedural practice.

6. Rules of the Supreme Court: Pretrial Procedure. There is a difference between noncompliance with one of the discovery rules and noncompliance with an order of the trial court on a discovery matter, and this difference may impact the allowable sanction.

7. Default Judgments: Pretrial Procedure. Dismissal or default judgment is an appropriate sanction for failing to comply with a discovery order.

Pirtle, Judge.


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