Last month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case illustrating the court’s power to dismiss a case when it determines that a plaintiff has not been truthful in her filings or testimony. The message in the opinion is an important one for Washington, D.C. personal injury plaintiffs to understand because it shows the severity of the sanctions that can be imposed for failing to be ethical.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was planning on taking a cruise and arranged to have the defendant transportation company give her a ride to the port. The shuttle arrived at the plaintiff’s home and took her to the port without issue. However, when the plaintiff was unloading her luggage from the trunk of the shuttle, the shuttle inexplicably reversed, running over the plaintiff.
It was undisputed that the plaintiff suffered a serious injury as a result of being run over by the shuttle. Indeed, she spent 10 days in the hospital recovering from her injuries, which included a fractured femur, and needed continuing physical therapy. Three months after the accident, the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the transportation company.
In pre-trial depositions, the plaintiff testified that she suffered a permanent limp and that she could not get around without the assistance of a cane. She also testified that she cannot carry heavy objects. However, unbeknownst to the plaintiff, the defendant had hired a private investigator to follow the plaintiff. The investigator provided video surveillance of the plaintiff unloading her car and carrying large, seemingly heavy objects into her home without assistance.
The defendant provided the court with the video, and the plaintiff filed a motion attempting to explain how the video was not inconsistent with her previous testimony. The court was not convinced by the plaintiff’s explanation and concluded that the plaintiff had intentionally misled the court. The court then dismissed the plaintiff’s case, and the plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The court acknowledged that the sanction was a serious one, but it was warranted given the situation. The court explained that the judiciary has an interest in deterring future fraud on the court by publicly sanctioning those who do so. As a result, the plaintiff will not be permitted to obtain any compensation for her injuries.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing victims and their families in all types of personal injury claims. We pride ourselves on the zealous yet ethical representation we provide to each and every one of our clients. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Permits Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case to Proceed Toward Trial, Based on Improperly Maintained Artificial Condition, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2017
Court Determines “Passive Retailer” May Still Be on the Hook for Dangerous Product, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, January 3, 2018