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Gaydos v. Guidant Corp. (In re Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Prods. Liab. Litig.)

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

May 18, 2007, Submitted; August 1, 2007, Filed

No. 06-3810

Opinion

 [*865] SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Steve and Diane Gaydos were plaintiffs in a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) suit brought against Guidant Corporation ("Guidant"). The district court 1 dismissed the Gaydoses's claims for failure to comply with two court orders and denied the Gaydoses's motion for reconsideration. The Gaydoses appeal. We affirm.

I. Background

The Gaydoses are two of nearly 1,400 plaintiffs involved in a MDL suit alleging Guidant manufactured defective pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. See e.g., In re Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Prods. Liab. Litig., 484 F. Supp. 2d 973 (D. Minn. 2007). As is typical in MDL litigation, many of the local, pretrial  [**2] logistics are handled on behalf of all plaintiffs by a Plaintiff's Liason Counsel. Additionally, all individual plaintiffs, like the Gaydoses, retained their own private counsel ("Counsel").

The district court, for case management purposes, issued two important pretrial orders relevant to this case ("the orders"). Pretrial Order # 2 required all attorneys, including Counsel, to provide a current email address for correspondence with the court. The order also required all plaintiffs to complete a "Plaintiff's Fact Sheet"--a lengthy and detailed medical questionnaire that included a medical disclosure form. A second order, Pretrial Order # 5, required that the Gaydoses  [*866]  comply with Pretrial Order # 2 by March 2, 2006.

The Gaydoses did not provide the court with a current email address, a completed fact sheet, or a signed medical disclosure form by the required deadline. Counsel was notified at least three times that he had failed to comply with the orders. Upon each notice, Counsel submitted incomplete answers to questions on the district court's mandated fact sheet. Eventually, Guidant moved to dismiss the Gaydoses's claims.

The district court, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 41(b),  [**3] granted Guidant's motion to dismiss with prejudice for failure to comply with the orders. Although notice of the court's dismissal was sent to the email address provided by Counsel, Counsel claimed that he was unaware of the dismissal until months later because he had provided the court with an erroneous email address. Upon learning of the dismissal, the Gaydoses through Counsel asked, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1) and 60(b)(6), that the district court reconsider the dismissal. The court denied the motion.

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496 F.3d 863 *; 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 18238 **; 68 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 996

In re: Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Products Liability Litigation, Steve Gaydos; Diane Gaydos, Appellants, v. Guidant Corporation, Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

In re Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Prods. Liab. Litig., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50303 (D. Minn., July 6, 2007)

Disposition: Affirmed.

CORE TERMS

district court, orders, email address, circumstances, cases, failure to comply, grant relief, fact sheet, Pretrial

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, General Overview, Excusable Mistakes & Neglect, Excusable Neglect, Pretrial Matters, Governments, Courts, Extraordinary Circumstances