Failure to produce redundant discovery by uncooperative Plaintiff results in dismissal of case
Marilynne Richardson sued the owner and driver of a vehicle that struck her on a motorcycle. Since she was on a bike, by statute she also collected her medical expenses from the defendants' No Fault PIP insurer. She was also forced to sue the insurer directly to collect those benefits.
When Richardson received the typical mass of Interrogatories demanding her life story, she responded to the batch sent out in the PIP medical case but did not respond to the similar batch in the case against the driver and owner. Her attorneys apparently referred the insurance company attorneys to the identical information in the insurance interrogatories in the other pending case.
The insurance attorneys representing the driver and owner then asked the Court to dismss the pending injury claim, citing Richardson's failure to cooperate in discovery. Her attorneys defended the dismissal motion by pointing to the information already provided in the medical expense litigation. The Court held that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion in dismissing Richardson's case, even though the other side had a complete list of witnesses and exhibits and full discovery responses from the PIP action. The judges noted that Richardson had a history of failing to comply with discovery and that the defense attorneys were entitled to know Richardson's attorneys' strategy. Simply having the pertinent discovery information in another form was deemed inadequate to fulfill Richardson's duty to respond.