Earlier this month, a federal court of appeals decided a truck accident case that is relevant to all Maryland truck accident victims considering filing a claim against the driver they believe to be responsible for their injuries. The case presented the court with the opportunity to determine whether a lower court was proper in striking the plaintiff’s statement of facts as a sanction for failing to comply with the court’s discovery deadlines. Ultimately, the federal appellate court held that the lower court was acting within its discretion when it struck the plaintiff’s statement, and it affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was driving on the highway when she was struck from behind by the defendant, who was operating a semi-truck. The collision caused the plaintiff to lose control of her vehicle, which ended up crashing into the center median. The plaintiff was seriously injured as a result and filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the truck driver as well as the company that employed him.
The defendants claimed that the plaintiff was the one who lost control of her vehicle first, and she was the one who collided with the defendant. In a pre-trial motion for summary judgment, both sides asked the court to strike the opposing side’s statement of facts. Specifically, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s statement of facts should be stricken because it relied on expert reports that were not disclosed to the defendant until four months after the deadline for discovery had passed.
The trial court granted the defendants’ request, striking the plaintiff’s statement of facts. The court reasoned that the plaintiff “repeatedly flouted his discovery obligations,” and to allow the plaintiff to include the reports in his statement of facts would reward this type of behavior. After striking the plaintiff’s statement of facts, the court then granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, finding that there was no “contrary expert opinion” offered by the plaintiff. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the lower court’s decision was affirmed. The court explained that a trial court has broad authority to control the flow of its docket, including issuing sanctions against parties that fail to comply with court-imposed deadlines. The court also agreed that the plaintiff’s failure to disclose the experts’ reports was neither justified nor harmless.
Have You Been Involved in a Maryland Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. A diligent Maryland personal injury attorney can help you plan your case from beginning to end. As noted above, it is incredibly important that Maryland accident victims comply with all court rules, or otherwise they risk an early dismissal of their claim. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Truck Accident Case Dismissed Due to Plaintiff’s Late Disclosure of Expert Testimony, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 24, 2017.
Truck Accidents Caused by Drivers’ Medical Emergencies, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 10, 2017.