Honda and its expert, Robert Gratzinger, got caught “wrongfully and intentionally alter[ing] the most significant physical evidence in [a products liability case.” The judge sanctioned them, but then sealed the order as part of a settlement of the case.
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice found to open the record to the public eye (read the motion here)and finally succeeded. Here is how it puts the describes the matter: “The court found that by intentionally destroying marks showing that Davis had been wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident – the ‘single most critical issue’ in the case – Honda had ‘attempted to rob’ the plaintiff ‘of her right to litigate on a level playing field.’ As a sanction, the court held Honda liable for Davis’s injuries and ruled the jury would only decide how much in damages Honda paid Davis.” Read the entire press release here.
Here is a copy of the now unsealed order.
I don’t know if the judge called this one right or not. Obviously, I did not see or hear the witnesses testify. But when one reads the Order it is obvious that he took his obligations very seriously. And if the facts are right, the sanction was appropriate.
I wonder if the lawyer was ever disciplined.