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Loss of Witnesses and Prejudice to Respondents Cited as Basis for Dismissal
Horton-Hodges v. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4332 (N.D. Calif., 1/18/00): Failure to prosecute a claim of disability discrimination serves as the basis for dismissal of both this pending lawsuit and a filed arbitration.
Ms. Horton-Hodges brought suit in federal court, alleging statutory claims against Schwab for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other statutes. Two months later, she signed a stipulation, which stayed the case, while she arbitrated pursuant to a Form U-4 undertaking.
A year later, her counsel withdrew and twenty months after that, the Court requested a status statement on the stay pending arbitration. Plaintiff filed a claim with AAA in response, but Schwab objected not only to the choice of forum, but to the failure to prosecute as well.
The Court agreed, noting that, four years following the termination event, witness memories will have faded and the witnesses themselves will have dispersed. Indeed, two Schwab employees who would have been key witnesses are no longer employed by Schwab . As [Plaintiff] has provided no justifiable reason for delaying the arbitration nearly three years, and as Schwab has demonstrated that it has been prejudiced by her delay, the court grants Schwabs motion to dismiss the action for failure to prosecute. (SAC Ref. No. 2000-17-001)
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