Cynthia Tennant, Pro se
Fairview, West Virginia
No appearance on behalf of Appellee
The Opinion of the Court was delivered PER CURIAM.
Justice Davis concurs and reserves the right to file a concurring opinion.
Justice Albright concurs, in part, and dissents, in part, and reserves the right to file a separate opinion.
Justice Starcher concurs and reserves the right to file a concurring opinion.
1. As a general rule, proceedings of trial courts are presumed to be regular, unless the contrary affirmatively appears upon the record, and errors assigned for the first time in an appellate court will not be regarded in any matter of which the trial court had jurisdiction or which might have been remedied in the trial court if objected to there. Syllabus Point 17, State v. Thomas, 157 W.Va. 640, 203 S.E.2d 445 (1974).
2. An appellant must carry the burden of showing error in the judgment of which he complains. This Court will not reverse the judgment of a trial court unless error affirmatively appears from the record. Error will not be presumed, all presumptions being in favor of the correctness of the judgment. Syllabus Point 5, Morgan v. Price, 151 W.Va. 158, 150 S.E.2d 897 (1966).
3. A motion for continuance is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and its ruling will not be disturbed on appeal unless there is a showing that there has been an abuse of discretion. Syllabus Point 2, State v. Bush, 163 W.Va. 168, 255 S.E.2d 539 (1979).
4. Whether there has been an abuse of discretion in denying a continuance must be decided on a case-by-case basis in light of the factual circumstances presented, particularly the reasons for the continuance that were presented to the trial court at the time the request was denied. Syllabus Point 3, State v. Bush, 163 W.Va. 168, 255 S.E.2d 539 (1979).
In the instant case, the appellee, the West Virginia Department of Health and
Human Resources Employees Federal Credit Union (Credit Union), filed a complaint
against the appellant, Cynthia Tennant, on August 1, 2000, in the Magistrate Court of
Kanawha County, alleging that as a result of her delinquent debt, Ms. Tennant breached her
agreement on a revolving MasterCard credit account. The Credit Union asserted that Ms.
Tennant had an outstanding balance of $5,938.81; however, due to the limitations on the
amount of relief that can be collected in magistrate court, the Credit Union requested
judgment in its favor in the amount of $5,000. On January 17, 2001, Ms. Tennant filed a
motion to have her case removed to circuit court. Thereafter, on December 2, 2002, a trial
was held in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County. On December 5, 2002, the circuit court
entered an order against Ms. Tennant and in favor of the Credit Union in the amount of
$5,811.02, plus post-judgment interests and court costs. Ms. Tennant now appeals the circuit
After reviewing the facts of the case, the issues presented, and the relevant
statutory and case law, this Court affirms the decision of the circuit court.
Cynthia Tennant, the appellant, is an employee of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and lives in Fairview, West Virginia. (See footnote 1) On June 2, 1997, Ms. Tennant applied for a MasterCard credit account through the appellee, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Employees Federal Credit Union (Credit Union). Within a few days of being approved and actually receiving her MasterCard, Ms. Tennant requested that her $1,500 credit limit be increased. On June 19, 1997, Ms. Tennant's request for an increase was approved and her credit limit was increased to $3,000. Then, on August 2, 1997, Ms. Tennant requested and was approved for an increase in her credit limit to $4,000. On September 4, 1997, Ms. Tennant applied for and received another increase to her credit limit to $5,000.
Approximately one year later, on October 30, 1998, Ms. Tennant was sent a notice of right to cure default by the Credit Union indicating that she was in default on her MasterCard by $1,515.50 and that she had exceeded her credit limit and had accumulated a total loan balance of $5,906.67. The letter of notice, signed by Linda Bodie, manager of the Credit Union, indicated that the last payment received from Ms. Tennant was on May 29, 1998. Ms. Bodie sent a subsequent letter to Ms. Tennant on November 2, 1998, confirming her conversation with Ms. Tennant's husband, Moses Tennant, with regard to the delinquent MasterCard account. According to the letter, Mr. Tennant stated that Ms. Tennant would immediately begin making regular monthly payments of a minimum of $125 as soon as she received the proceeds from a lawsuit that was separate from these proceedings. On April 7, 2000, another letter was sent to Ms. Tennant confirming a subsequent conversation with Mr. Tennant, who explained that on or around April 15, 2000, Ms. Tennant had again agreed to resume making minimum payments of $125.
On August 1, 2000, the Credit Union filed a complaint against Ms. Tennant in the Magistrate Court of Kanawha County, alleging that Ms. Tennant had breached her agreement on the credit card account and that as of July 31, 2000, she owed the Credit Union $5,938.81. According to the Credit Union, Ms. Tennant's last payment was received on April 24, 2000. Consequently, based upon the $5,000 jurisdictional amount limitation in magistrate court, the Credit Union requested a judgment actually lower than the amount Ms. Tennant owed, specifically, $5,000 plus court costs and interest.
In Ms. Tennant's answer, dated October 6, 2000, she denied the matters set forth in the complaint and asserted a counterclaim alleging that: the Credit Union breached the contract first by not applying payments in a timely manner causing additional interest to accrue; that her privacy rights were violated by the Credit Union discussing her account with her husband; that the Credit Union refused to provide a copy of the original contract for the credit card; and, that her rights were violated by the Credit Union asking for court costs. Ms. Tennant then demanded a jury trial, court costs, and asked for punitive damages to deter [the Credit Union] from acting in such a ma[nn]er again.
The case was set for a hearing on January 25, 2001, in the Magistrate Court of Kanawha County. Prior to that date, on January 17, 2001, Ms. Tennant filed a motion to have her case removed to the Circuit Court of Marion County or in [the] alternative Kanawha [County], even though she now claims that she lives in Monongalia County. Per Ms. Tennant's request, the case was subsequently removed from the magistrate court to the Kanawha County Circuit Court. On March 29, 2001, Ms. Tennant served upon the Credit Union a Defendant's First Request for Production of Documents to Plaintiff and a Defendant's First Set of Interrogatories to Plaintiff. On October 24, 2001, the Credit Union served upon Ms. Tennant the Plaintiff's Answers to Defendant's First Set of Interrogatories and Plaintiff's Answers to Defendant's Request for Production of Documents.
On March 8, 2002, the circuit court held a scheduling conference outlining the specific dates of pertinent activities to occur prior to the scheduled December 2, 2002 trial; however, Ms. Tennant did not attend the scheduling conference. Moreover, the record reflects that notice of the conference was sent to Ms. Tennant on February 28, 2002, and that a copy of the scheduling order was provided to her by mail following the completion of the scheduling conference.
On November 13, 2002, Ms. Tennant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to West Virginia Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3), asserting that the case should have been filed in Monongalia County where she declares she resides. (See footnote 2) On that same day, Ms. Tennant filed a motion for continuance for the following reasons: Due to the fact defendant did not receive the notice of the scheduling order dated March 8, 2002. Defendant discovered that a scheduling order had been done through a phone call to Kanawha County Circuit Court on October 29, 2002 when checking the status of the case; (See footnote 3) due to the failure of notice she was unable to complete discovery and properly prepare for trial; and, because her husband is having health problems at this time and will be going through testing and treatment shortly.
A week later, on November 21, 2002, Ms. Tennant filed a motion for a continuance for the pretrial conference that was scheduled for November 25, 2002, and stated as the sole basis of her request: Defendant['s] husband is having health problems at this time. That same day, Mr. Tennant, who was not a party to this civil action, also filed a motion for a continuance of Ms. Tennant's pre-trial conference stating: Health reasons. Note I have filed a motion to intervene in he [sic] above styled case. (See footnote 4) On November 25, 2002, during a pre-trial conference, the circuit court denied Mr. Tennant's motion to intervene and Ms. Tennant's motion for a continuance. Thereafter, on November 29, 2002, Ms. Tennant filed a motion for stay. (See footnote 5) Nonetheless, pursuant to the March 8, 2002 scheduling order, the case proceeded to trial on December 2, 2002. Upon hearing testimony from Ms. Tennant and the Credit Union's manager, Ms. Bodie, as well as receiving various exhibits offered by both parties, the circuit court entered its December 5, 2002 order against Ms. Tennant and in favor of the Credit Union in the amount of $5,811.02, plus post-judgment interests and court costs. This appeal followed. (See footnote 6)
The standard of review concerning appeals to this Court from non-jury trials, or bench trials, is set forth in Syllabus Point 1 of Public Citizen, Inc. v. First National Bank, 198 W.Va. 329, 480 S.E.2d 538 (1996):
In reviewing challenges to the findings and conclusions of
the circuit court made after a bench trial, a two-pronged
deferential standard of review is applied. The final order and the
ultimate disposition are reviewed under an abuse of discretion
standard, and the circuit court's underlying factual findings are
reviewed under a clearly erroneous standard. Questions of law
are subject to a de novo review.
With these standards in mind, we now consider whether the circuit court erred in this case.
We begin our review in this appeal with Ms. Tennant's contention that the circuit court violated her rights by not providing her a jury trial on December 2, 2002 in the Circuit Court of Kanawha County. Ms. Tennant believes that since she requested a jury trial while her case was pending in the Magistrate Court of Kanawha County on October 6, 2000, (See footnote 7) she should have been given a jury trial in the circuit court on December 2, 2002, after the case was removed to that court upon her request. Thus, we are left to decide whether a request in magistrate court for a jury trial will automatically satisfy the requirements of Rule 38 of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure (See footnote 8) after a case has been removed to the circuit court.
In the Syllabus of Barker v. Benefit Trust Life Insurance Company, 174 W.Va. 187, 324 S.E.2d 148 (1984), in part, we held that [w]here a trial by jury has been secured by a party to litigation under W.Va.R.Civ.P. 38 or 39(b), a party to such litigation has a right to an impartial and unbiased jury. . . . Moreover, a party's right to a trial by jury is guaranteed by the West Virginia Constitution in Article III, Section 13. (See footnote 9) Even so, it is abundantly clear that a party may waive their right to trial by jury. See W.Va.R.Civ.P. 38(d) (states that failure of a party to serve and file a demand as required by this rule constitutes a waiver by the party of trial by jury.). For instance, in this case it is undisputed that at no time while Ms. Tennant's case was in the circuit court did she request a jury trial as provided by the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure. W.Va.R.Civ.P. 39(a) and (b) provide:
(a) By Jury. When trial by jury has been demanded as
provided in Rule 38 or a timely motion or request therefor has
been made under subdivision (b) of this rule, the action shall be
designated upon the docket as a jury action. The trial of all
issues so demanded or requested shall be by jury, unless (1) the
parties or their attorneys of record, by written stipulation filed
with the court or by an oral stipulation made in open court and
entered in the record, consent to trial by the court sitting without
a jury or (2) the court upon motion or of its own initiative finds
that a right of trial by jury of some or all of those issues does not
exist under the Constitution or statutes of the State.
(b) By the Court. Issues not demanded for trial by jury as provided in Rule 38 shall be tried by the court; but, notwithstanding the failure of a party to demand a jury in an action in which such a demand might have been made of right, the court upon motion or of its own initiative may at any time order a trial by a jury of any or all issues.
We first point out that there are two distinct procedural bodies of law governing our magistrate courts and circuit courts. The Rules of Civil Procedure for the Magistrate Courts of West Virginia are applicable to all civil cases in the magistrate courts of this state. W.Va.Rul.Civ.P.Magis.Cts. 1. Specifically, Rule 6 of those rules states that in cases where the amount in controversy exceeds twenty dollars, any party may elect to have a trial by jury as long as the request comes no later than 20 days after service of any first timely filed answer to the complaint. W.Va.Rul.Civ.Proc.Magis.Cts. 6A(b)(1). In this case, Ms. Tennant asserted this right in her Answer filed in the magistrate court. As such, absent a subsequent error by the magistrate, if the case against Ms. Tennant had remained in the magistrate court, she would have received a jury trial. However, as noted previously, Ms. Tennant removed her case to the circuit court. The circuit courts are governed by the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure which apply to all trial courts of record. W.Va.R.Civ.P.1. Under W.Va.R.Civ.P. 38(b), a party may demand a trial by jury by serving upon the other parties a demand therefor in writing at any time after the commencement of the action and not later than 10 days after the service of the last pleading directed to such issue. Ms. Tennant failed to satisfy this rule in that she did not request a jury trial in the circuit court. Moreover, under 38(d), the failure of a party to serve and file a demand as required by this rule constitutes a waiver by the party of a trial by jury. Because Ms. Tennant failed to file a demand for a jury trial in the circuit court as required by Rule 38(b), she waived her right.
Additionally, it is equally important to note that there is nothing in the record to suggest that Ms. Tennant objected to the lack of a jury trial during her December 2, 2002, bench trial. If a problem had presented itself during the circuit court's bench trial, Ms. Tennant had an obligation to bring it to the circuit judge's attention in order to provide that court with an opportunity to cure the alleged error. We have held that,
[a]s a general rule, proceedings of trial courts are presumed to be regular, unless the contrary affirmatively appears upon the record, and errors assigned for the first time in an appellate court will not be regarded in any matter of which the trial court had jurisdiction or which might have been remedied in the trial court if objected to there.
Syllabus Point 17, State v. Thomas, 157 W.Va. 640, 203 S.E.2d 445 (1974). See also Syllabus
Point 4, State v. Browning, 199 W.Va. 417, 485 S.E.2d 1 (1997) (This Court will not
consider an error which is not properly preserved in the record nor apparent on the face of the
record.); State v. Grimmer, 162 W.Va. 588, 595, 251 S.E.2d 780, 785 (1979) (When there
is an opportunity to speak, silence may operate as a waiver of objections to error and
irregularities at the trial which, if seasonably made and presented, might have been regarded
as prejudicial). The raise or waive rule was explained in Wimer v. Hinkle, 180 W.Va. 660,
663, 379 S.E.2d 383, 386 (1989), as part of a design to prevent a party from obtaining an
unfair advantage by failing to give the trial court an opportunity to rule on the objection and
thereby correct potential error. Furthermore, we noted in State v. LaRock, 196 W.Va. 294,
316, 470 S.E.2d 613, 635 (1996), that the raise or waive rule seeks to prevent[ ] a party from
making a tactical decision to refrain from objecting and, subsequently, should the case turn
sour, assigning error (or even worse, planting an error and nurturing the seed as a guarantee
against a bad result).
This Court further stated in Blair v. Maynard, 174 W.Va. 247, 253, 324 S.E.2d 391, 396 (1984):
Of course, the court must not overlook the rules to the
prejudice of any party. The court should strive, however, to
ensure that the diligent pro se party does not forfeit any
substantial rights by inadvertent omission or mistake. Cases
should be decided on the merits, and to that end, justice is served
by reasonably accommodating all parties, whether represented by
counsel or not. This reasonable accommodation is purposed
upon protecting the meaningful exercise of a litigant's
constitutional right of access to the courts. Therefore, ultimately,
the pro se litigant must bear the responsibility and accept the
consequences of any mistakes and errors. See, e.g., Viles v.
Scofield, 128 Colo. 185, 261 P.2d 148 (1953); Alexander v.
Jeanerette, 371 So.2d 1245 (La.Ct.App.1979).
(See footnote 10)
This record shows that Ms. Tennant was fully aware of, but did not participate in, a March 8, 2002, scheduling conference. Also, Ms. Tennant does not indicate that she discusses her desire for a jury trial at the pre-trial conference on November 25, 2002 or during her December 2, 2002 bench trial. Accordingly, based on the above, we find that Ms. Tennant effectively waived her right to a jury trial.
Ms. Tennant makes several other brief and unsubstantiated arguments not supported by the record. As an initial matter, we observe that Ms. Tennant did not provide to this Court a transcript of the circuit court's December 2, 2002 trial, and as such, we are limited in our review of those proceedings. We have long held that '[a]n Appellate Court will not reverse the judgment of an inferior court unless error affirmatively appear upon the face of the record, and such error will not be presumed, all the presumptions being in favor of the correctness of the judgment.' Point 2, syllabus, Shrewsbury v. Miller, 10 W.Va. 115 . Syllabus Point 4 of Alexander v. Jennings, 150 W.Va. 629, 149 S.E.2d 213 (1966). Similarly, in Syllabus Point 5 of Morgan v. Price, 151 W.Va. 158, 150 S.E.2d 897 (1966), we held: An appellant must carry the burden of showing error in the judgment of which he complains. This Court will not reverse the judgment of a trial court unless error affirmatively appears from the record. Error will not be presumed, all presumptions being in favor of the correctness of the judgment.
We have further explained that [w]hen the alleged errors of the trial court
involve the sufficiency of the proof and the testimony upon which the judgment of the trial
court is based is not made a part of the record for appellate purposes, the appellate court must
presume that the judgment of the trial court is correct and warranted by the testimony.
Syllabus Point 5, Pozzie v. Prather, 151 W.Va. 880, 157 S.E.2d 625 (1967). Consequently,
the burden is on Ms. Tennant to produce a record that discloses affirmatively the alleged
reversible errors committed at trial.
(See footnote 11)
Ordinarily, the failure to do so requires an affirmance
of the judgment of the lower court, since error will not be presumed in the absence of an
affirmative showing. See Ward v. County Court, 141 W.Va. 730, 93 S.E.2d 44 (1956); Scott
v. Newell, 69 W.Va. 118, 70 S.E. 1092 (1911); Dudley v. Barrett, 58 W.Va. 235, 52 S.E. 100
(1905); McGraw v. Roller, 47 W.Va. 650, 35 S.E. 822 (1900); Zumbro v. Stump, 38 W.Va.
325, 18 S.E. 443 (1893).
Ms. Tennant next contends that the contract whereby she obtained the MasterCard is void because there were no terms, conditions, or interest rates included and it was not signed by both parties. Upon reviewing the record, we find that this is simply incorrect. Ms. Tennant's credit card application was signed by both Ms. Tennant and the Credit Union. In addition, immediately below where Ms. Tennant checked a box to apply for the MasterCard, the agreement provides: You acknowledge that you have previously received and read the Agreement(s) for the credit services checked above. By signing below you agree to be bound by the terms of the Agreement for each service checked. Moreover, the record reflects Ms. Tennant was given copies of the MasterCard agreement at that time.
We believe that Ms. Tennant was well aware of her credit limit and the surrounding terms of the credit card agreement. This is evidenced by her subsequent requests for an increase in her credit limit that included the very terms of which she claims she had no knowledge . For instance, located just below her signature on each of her applications to increase her credit limit, in large capital letters, the annual percentage rate of 13.9 percent is provided, along with additional information, including, but not limited to late fees, overlimit fees, lost card fees, information on the grace period for purchases, and the balance calculation method. We specifically find that a valid contract existed and Ms. Tennant was in breach of that contract.
Ms. Tennant also maintains that the Credit Union intentionally allowed her to go over the set credit limit so that they could saddle her with late charges and over-the-limit fees. There simply is no evidence in the record before this Court to support such an argument. Ms. Tennant applied for a credit card and was approved for a $1,500 limit. Subsequently, on various occasions, she requested and was approved for increases in her credit limit. Then, it is undisputed that Ms. Tennant accumulated charges amounting to the maximum credit limit set forth in her MasterCard agreement. Likewise, it is undisputed that as Ms. Tennant failed to make the required monthly payments, the interest charges continued to accumulate on the account as provided by the credit card agreement. As such, the only determination we are able to make with regard to Ms. Tennant's contention is that she accumulated a debt for which she is legally responsible.
Ms. Tennant further contends that the circuit court denied her motion for a continuance dated October 29, 2002 stating that her reasons were for health reasons of her father and husband and that she wished to hire an attorney. With regard to the circuit court's denial of her motion to continue, this Court has long held that [a] motion for continuance is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, and its ruling will not be disturbed on appeal unless there is a showing that there has been an abuse of discretion. Syllabus Point 2, State v. Bush, 163 W.Va. 168, 255 S.E.2d 539 (1979). In Syllabus Point 3 of Bush, we held that [w]hether there has been an abuse of discretion in denying a continuance must be decided on a case-by-case basis in light of the factual circumstances presented, particularly the reasons for the continuance that were presented to the trial court at the time the request was denied. We further provided in Syllabus Point 2 of Nutter v. Maynard, 183 W.Va. 247, 395 S.E.2d 491 (1990):
'It is well settled as a general rule that the question of
continuance is in the sound discretion of the trial court, which
will not be reviewed by the appellate court, except in case it
clearly appears that such discretion has been abused.' Syl. pt. 1,
Levy v. Scottish Union & National Ins. Co., 58 W.Va. 546, 52
S.E. 449 (1905).
In Ms. Tennant's case, her motion for a continuance was filed on November 13, 2002, not October 29, 2002, and did not state that she wished to have an attorney. Moreover, her entire discussion of the health problems listed in that motion was limited to her husband and consisted entirely of the following: Defendant['s] husband is having health problems at this time and will be going through testing and treatment shortly. Ms. Tennant did not explain the testing of which she referred or even what treatment her husband needed. Significantly, she did not include dates, times, or any other pertinent information. This clearly was not sufficient to justify a motion for continuance and it was well within the sound discretion of the circuit court to deny such a motion.
Ms. Tennant next argues that the circuit court erred in denying her motion to dismiss because of improper venue. We find no merit in this argument. On November 13, 2002, Ms. Tennant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to rule 12(b)(3) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure (See footnote 12) stating that this case should not have been brought in Kanawha County. Moreover, even though Ms. Tennant lives in Fairview, West Virginia, which is located in Marion County, she states that she resides in Monongalia County and that the case should have been brought in that county. We find Ms. Tennant's argument difficult to understand particularly by the fact that when she filed a motion on January 17, 2001, to have her case removed from the magistrate court to the circuit court, she requested that it be removed to Marion County or in alternative Kanawha [County]. As such, Ms. Tennant not only acquiesced to the venue of the Circuit Court of Kanawha County, she actually requested that the case against her be removed to that court. Thus, this issue is entirely without merit.
Ms. Tennant also declares that the circuit court erred by not allowing her husband, Moses Tennant, to intervene as a party in the case. She believes that Mr. Tennant has a right to intervene because when money is being taken out of household it would affect my husband's interest. In State ex rel. Leung v. Sanders, 213 W.Va. 569, 578, 584 S.E.2d 203, 212 (2003), we explained:
Generally, standing is defined as '[a] party's right to
make a legal claim or seek judicial enforcement of a duty or
right.' Findley v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 213 W.Va.
80, 94, 576 S.E.2d 807, 821 (2002) (quoting Black's Law
Dictionary 1413 (7th ed.1999)). 'Our standing inquiry focuses
on the appropriateness of a party bringing the questioned
controversy to the court.' Id., 213 W.Va. at 95, 576 S.E.2d at
822 (quoting Louisiana Envtl. Action Network v. Browner, 87
F.3d 1379, 1382 (D.C.Cir.1996)). One specific aspect of
standing is that one generally lacks standing to assert the rights
Clearly, it was Ms. Tennant who signed the contract with the Credit Union to obtain the credit card and Mr. Tennant was not a party to that transaction. Additionally, on August 1, 2000, the Credit Union filed the civil action solely against Ms. Tennant for her default on her MasterCard account. As such, Mr. Tennant simply is not a party in this action and any appeal with regard to Mr. Tennant's standing to intervene in any case cannot be asserted by Ms. Tennant. The circuit court did not commit error.
Ms. Tennant also attests that the circuit court erred as it would not allow [her] to present [her] case the way me and my husband had prepared it by reading it from paper. The Judge told me to do it in my own words. Ms. Tennant further argues that the circuit court failed to allow her to adequately present her case because she believed that the circuit judge was more concerned in getting the trial over with than justice. Ms. Tennant does not provide to this Court any examples of how the circuit court acted in an erroneous manner or in a manner that was not consistent with the laws of West Virginia. Rather, Ms. Tennant's assertions lack specificity and particularity and are completely unsupported. In the absence of such supporting arguments or authority, we deem these assignments of error to have been waived. See State v. LaRock, 196 W.Va. 294, 302, 470 S.E.2d 613, 621 (1996) (Although we liberally construe briefs in determining issues presented for review, issues which are . . . mentioned only in passing but are not supported with pertinent authority [ ] are not considered on appeal.). (See footnote 13) Accordingly, we find that the circuit court did not commit error.
Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, the final order of the Circuit Court of Kanawha County entered on December 5, 2002, is affirmed.
Failure to file brief._The failure to file a brief in accordance with this rule may result in the Supreme Court imposing the following sanctions: refusal to hear the case, denying oral argument to the derelict party, dismissal of the case from the docket, or such other sanctions as the Supreme Court may deem appropriate.