Upholding Sanctions in Mesothelioma Case, Judge Calls Ford’s Actions “Exceptionally Troubling”

Calling Ford Motor Company’s failure to produce requested documentation pertaining to a mesothelioma lawsuit “an exceptionally troubling and deliberate disregard of the court’s authority,” the New Jersey Appellate Division soundly rejected the company’s appeal of sanctions imposed on it for withholding evidence in violation of discovery rules. The company was required to pay the victim’s family’s costs, and the judge in the case had directed verdict to plaintiff on the issues of duty and breach of duty, and ordered the jury be told that Ford had violated a court order and withheld evidence.

court sanctions

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Against Ford Led to $800,000 Verdict and More

The mesothelioma against Ford Motor Company had been filed by the family of Anita Creutzberger. The 85-year-old woman died after having laundered her husband’s work clothing for years. He had been a service manager for Ford and Lincoln automobile dealerships, and his work area was adjacent to the service bays where asbestos-contaminated Ford brakes send toxic dust onto his clothing.

In addition to the evidence the jury heard about the link between asbestos and mesothelioma, about second-hand asbestos exposure and the presence of dust in the dealership and carried home into the Creutzberger’s laundry, the jury was instructed on Ford’s wrongdoing regarding providing evidence requested by Mrs. Creutzberger’s family in support of their claim.

Appeals Court Finds Sanctions in Mesothelioma Case Appropriate

In affirming the sanctions that had been imposed by the judge in the original mesothelioma lawsuit, the appeals court noted that though Ford had first agreed to provide all pertinent requested manuals as part of the discovery process, they later denied any knowledge of the documents. Even when the plaintiff’s attorneys pointed out that the information had been produced in response to another lawsuit, the company denied having any knowledge of the materials or that they existed.

In her remarks on the mesothelioma victim’s case and the sanctions from which they benefitted, appellate panel judge Mary Gibbons Whipple wrote, “The detailed record offers little support to Ford’s claims that it acted in good faith in responding to plaintiff’s key discovery requests in this case. Thus, we discern no abuse of the court’s discretion in rejecting Ford’s claim.”

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Writer

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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