A federal district court recently granted summary judgment in favor of a firm client, dismissing a personal injury claim against a general contractor arising from a car accident near a construction site. The court concluded that the client had correctly performed its work on the federal project and complied with the plans and specifications. As a result, the client was entitled to the protections afforded by the government contractor immunity defense available to federal contractors, making it immune from tort liability.
The court also awarded the client sanctions due to the plaintiff’s spoliation of photographic evidence, setting an important precedent that will deter future plaintiffs and their attorneys from manipulating evidence. The spoliation ruling has received national attention from legal scholars and commentators, who have opined that plaintiffs should be wary of litigating in bad faith as a result of the court’s decision to utilize its inherent power to impose sanctions—even when the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure may not provide a specific remedy. We are pleased to have helped the client secure dismissal and an award of sanctions.
The case has received significant press in legal and construction circles because the award of sanctions serves as a strong warning to litigants who may be tempted to manipulate evidence to strengthen their case. The following is a list of the articles about the court’s ruling that have been published to date: