Consideration of Lesser Sanctions Must Appear in the Record

The Shops at Legacy filed suit against Fine Autographs & Memorabilia for breach of their lease agreement. On the day of trial, TSAL filed a motion for continuance, which was denied. Fine Autographs then filed a motion for sanctions based on alleged discovery abuse by TSAL, apparently relating to its failure to produce copies of checks and a document related to the lease. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed TSAL’s claim with prejudice as a “death penalty” sanction. Although the court’s order recited that it had considered, and rejected, the possibility of lesser sanctions, nothing in the record of the sanctions hearing actually demonstrated the consideration of lesser sanctions. Because a court must consider the availability of lesser sanctions before dismissing a party’s case, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The Shops at Legacy (Inland) L.P. v. Fine Autographs & Memorabilia Retail Stores, Inc., No. 05-12-00864-CV

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