What do you do when a party to a lawsuit intentionally refuses to follow the rules? One judge in Washington State knew what to do: the judge struck the defendant’s answer, entered judgment for $8,000,000, and awarded attorneys’ fees. Last week the Washington Supreme Court had upheld the award.
The facts are almost impossible to summarize and readers are urged to review the opinion to learn the details. The bottom line:
The court found (1) there was no agreement between the parties to limit discovery, (2) Hyundai falsely responded to Magaña’s request for production and interrogatories, (3) Magaña was substantially prejudiced in preparing for trial, and (4) evidence was spoiled and forever lost. The trial court considered lesser sanctions but found that the only suitable remedy under the circumstances was a default judgment. Hyundai then appealed.