Lucht v. Mulino Hangar Cafe & Roadhouse, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 09-10-2015
  • Case #: A154418
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Egan, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Nakamoto, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A trial court may not sua sponte dismiss a case where it had set a deadline for resolution but subsequently granted Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint, removing the plaintiff's ability to comply with the deadline.

Plaintiff filed a complaint against her former employer, Mulino Hangar Cafe & Roadhouse, LLC (Employer). Employer sought a stay after its owners filed for bankruptcy, and the court granted that motion; thereafter, Employer was administratively dissolved and the Employer's owners created a new entity engaged in substantially the same business as Employer. The bankruptcy court ruled the stay did not apply to either entity, and the court reinstated Plaintiff's case with the stipulation that the case be at issue or default entered no later than October 15, 2012. Prior to that deadline, Plaintiff moved to amend the complaint to add the new entity as a defendant; the court granted her motion and Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, to which the new entity filed no response. When the court's deadline passed, the court entered a sua sponte order dismissing the case. On appeal, Plaintiff argued this was an abuse of discretion to dismiss the case for failure to meet the deadline when the court had granted leave to amend the complaint, removing that condition, and Plaintiff's failure to meet the deadline was not entirely her fault. The Court held that the court abused its discretion because it could not enforce a condition while at the same time allowing Plaintiff to amend her complaint, removing Plaintiff's ability to comply with the condition. Reversed and remanded.

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