Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a motorcycle accident case illustrating what can happen if a party fails to comply with the pre-trial discovery process. While the decision was issued by a South Carolina court, the same principles apply in Maryland motorcycle accidents.
The case arose from a motorcycle accident that the plaintiff claimed was caused by the defendant’s negligence. After the case was filed, the parties each requested discovery from the other side. In the pre-trial discovery process, a party is able to request relevant information that it believes may be in the possession of the opposing side. Once a judge approves a discovery request, the party who has the information is required to pass it. A failure to pass the ordered discovery can result in various penalties, up to and including the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim.
In this case, the defendant requested certain income tax documents from the plaintiff. The judge granted the defendant’s request and ordered that the documents be passed by December 17, 2015. About a year after the deadline, the defendant filed a motion to compel discovery with the court. The court granted the motion and also ordered that the plaintiff pay some of the defendant’s attorney’s fees that related to the prolonged litigation over the documentation.