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Law Watch Case Summary - Beasley v. Hicks

Author: Jerilyn Jacobs

Beasley v. Hicks

While noting that dismissal of a lawsuit is a “heavy sanction,” the Seventh Circuit found that it was nonetheless warranted in the § 1983 civil rights case of Beasley v. Hicks, No. 21-2317, 2022 WL 2828268, (7th Cir. July 20, 2022).  Mr. Beasley opened the questioning with a belligerent insult, by asking, “Are you slow, Attorney General? That is the dumbest question you could possibly ask me under oath.” After two hours of questioning, Beasley’s behavior escalated from general aggression to racial epithets and sexualized comments, to accusations of crime, culminating in an unsubtle threat of violence: “You are pushing my patience to an extent that no man has ever survived being in front of me.” The deposition was ended and a sanction in the form of dismissal sought.

The magistrate judge concluded that this case was extraordinary, and that neither a warning nor fines would have been effective in determining similar acts of misconduct. The Seventh Circuit upheld the dismissal, finding the magistrate judge did not abuse his discretion.

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