Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating why it is so important for Maryland car accident victims to always remain on the right side of the line between being a zealous advocate and misleading the court. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss when a trial court is proper in dismissing a plaintiff’s case for providing misleading answers during the discovery process. Ultimately, the court found that the plaintiff’s answers were intended to “subvert the judicial” process, and therefore, it affirmed the dismissal of his case.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in a car accident with the defendant. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained injuries to his back, neck, and shoulder. He subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for his injuries.
During pre-trial discovery, the plaintiff was presented with a list of questions to answer. Several of the questions asked whether the plaintiff had sustained injuries to his head, neck, or shoulder in the past. The plaintiff indicated that he had not. However, when the defendant asked the plaintiff to sign a medical release waiver, he refused.
The defendant was eventually able to obtain the plaintiff’s medical records through a subpoena. The records indicated that the plaintiff had indeed sustained injuries to his neck, back, and shoulder in the very recent past. The defendant then asked the court to dismiss the case based upon the plaintiff’s misleading answers.
In response, the plaintiff claimed that he never intended to mislead the court. He then claimed to have executed the medical release form, which the plaintiff claimed indicated a lack of intent to hide his injuries from the court. Initially, the court denied the defendant’s motion, taking the plaintiff at his word. However, when the defendant later pointed out that the plaintiff had misled the court with regard to the execution of the medical release form, the court then dismissed the case. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. The court held that, while outright dismissal is an extreme sanction, here the court was within its right to dismiss the plaintiff’s case based on the statements he made. The court explained that there could be little question that the plaintiff was intending to “subvert the judicial process,” and that being the case, the court had an interest in deterring future litigants from engaging in similar behavior.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you have sustained. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of collective experience handling all types of Maryland injury claims, including car accident cases. Our attorneys provide zealous advocacy while abiding by all ethical standards so that we do not jeopardize our clients’ cases. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Third-Party Liability in Maryland Drunk Driving Accidents, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published May 2, 2018.
Court Discusses Government Immunity as It Pertains to the Placement of Road Signs, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published April 17, 2018.