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State Supreme Court Holds in Favor of Plaintiff after Finding Defendant Withheld Information During Pre-Trial Discovery

Posted in Firm News

Earlier this month, the West Virginia Supreme Court released its opinion regarding a trucking accident that was caused by one driver’s road rage. Evidently, in 2010 the plaintiff-truck driver was injured when he tried to avoid the defendant who negligently veered in front of the truck driver. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was acting with road rage when he cut the truck driver off and quickly slammed on his brakes.

The plaintiff had to swerve to avoid the car and subsequently wrecked his truck and injured himself. The defendant left the scene of the accident; however, he was later apprehended because a witness followed him and wrote down his license plate information. The defendant claimed that he was unaware an accident had occurred and alleged that he was the victim of mistaken identity. The evidence at trial proved otherwise. Nevertheless, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant. They found that the plaintiff did not prove that the defendant negligently caused the accident.

The plaintiff asked the court to set aside the judgment. He argued that the defendant was not honest during pretrial discovery when he claimed that he had not been issued prior citations. The plaintiff claimed that because of this the verdict was unjust. The trial court, however, did not grant the plaintiff’s motion.

The plaintiff appealed the case to the state supreme court. That court vacated the lower court’s judgment. It found that the defendant had clearly misrepresented his prior traffic history during his testimony and this misconduct did not allow the plaintiff to properly rebut the defendant’s defenses.

New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct During the Pre-Trial Phase

In the above case, the defendant was untruthful and concealed crucial details regarding his driving history. This untruthfulness led to a lengthy trial, several appeals, court fees, attorney’s fees, and emotional ups-and-downs for all those involved. It is very important that clients understand the necessity of retaining a prepared and diligent attorney in these types of cases.

Under the New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 16-304, attorneys must exhibit fairness to their opposing party and counsel. To summarize, the rule states that lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence, falsify evidence, and knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal. Additionally, during pretrial procedures, attorneys shall not make frivolous discovery requests or fail to take reasonable steps to comply with legally proper discovery requests by an opposing party.

It is important that individuals realize that if they or their attorneys do not follow these mandated requirements they can suffer a series of consequences, including the dismissal of their case or being held in contempt of court. This applies to both defendants and plaintiffs. It is crucial that individuals have dedicated and detail-oriented attorneys to ensure that this does not occur.

Have You Suffered an Injury in a New Mexico Trucking Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident you should contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm to discuss the merits of your claim. Accidents have the propensity to result in serious emotional and physical damage, and not having a dedicated legal team behind you will only result in more complications. The attorneys at the Fine Law firm can assist you apportioning liability and bringing the most appropriate claim against the liable parties. If you are successful you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

State Supreme Court Finds that Governmental Immunity Does Not Apply to School Bus Driver, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2016.

Federal Appellate Court Affirms Judgment and Award of $3 Million to Family of Man Killed in Trucking Accident, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 17, 2016.