Articles Tagged with “sanctions’

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.

The Star-Tribune from Minneapolis – St. Paul reports that a state court judge in Minnesota imposed a $4 million sanction  against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. for engaging in a "staggering" pattern of misconduct aimed at covering up its role in the deaths of four young people whose car collided with a train largely because a crossing gate wasn’t working properly.

The paper reports that the railroad began destroying evidence within minutes of the incident.

The trial judge, Ellen Maas,  found that the railroad company lost or fabricated evidence, interfered with the families’ investigation of the accident and "knowingly advanced lies, misleading facts and/or misrepresentations" in order to conceal the truth and "has attempted to explain away each instance of misconduct as either an innocent mistake or a mere coincidence. … "