Pro Se Refusal to Answer Written Discovery

On occasion I am retained to represent a client in litigation and, eventually, the opposing party’s attorney withdraws and is not replaced. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like clients lying under oath most of which I never get to know because of that pesky attorney-client privilege.

What happens once the opposing attorney withdraws? I serve written discovery and proceed with the defense like I did in A-10-610977-C. If my memory is correct, I believe after serving the written discovery I sent a courtesy letter to the plaintiffs reminding them when the responses were due. No responses were received. I sent another letter about a 2.34 conference and made the requisite phone calls but received no response. Left with no other option, I filed a motion to compel that was granted. The order gave Plaintiffs 30 more days to respond and warned sanctions, including dismissal, could result. Plaintiffs still did not respond and, at the 45 day status check, a show cause order issued. Two weeks later, I returned, still no answers had been provided, and the court struck the complaint per NRCP 37.

People representing themselves are sometimes held to the same rules as lawyers. They must still answer appropriate discovery and proceed with the case. If not, their refusal should not leave the remaining parties in limbo.