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Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or its state or local equivalents, empowers trial court judges to dismiss a case when a party commits contempt of court or otherwise violates court orders. Pietrangelo v. Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, an April 11 decision of the D.C. Court of Appeals, highlights a trial court’s discretion under the rule to dismiss for contumacious conduct.

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