May 20, 2016 Practice Points

Failure to Follow California Court's Order Results in Terminating Sanction

A trial court has the inherent authority to control proceedings before it

by Thomas Whiteside

“It is the imperative duty of an attorney to respectfully yield to the rulings of the court, whether right or wrong.” Hawk v. Superior Court, 116 Cal. Rptr. 713, 725 (Ct. App. 1974) (emphasis in original).  

Osborne v. Todd Farm Service is a reminder to attorneys that trial courts have the power to issue terminating sanctions when attorneys fail to heed this rule. In Osborne, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s case with prejudice after her counsel repeatedly violated the trial court’s orders excluding evidence. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment of dismissal. 

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