Sanctions Imposed for Abusive Discovery Practices

Thursday, July 11, 2002
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that sanctions may be imposed in an admiralty case against a party that engages in abusive discovery practices. In the instant case, plaintiff’s integrated tug-barge caught fire in Guanica, Puerto Rico and was substantially destroyed. Plaintiff brought suit against the port authority and the lessee of the docking facilities. The trial court imposed sanctions against the plaintiff when it found that plaintiff had attempted to hide the identities of two divers that it hired to inspect the vessel subsequent to the casualty; attempted to hide the identity of a crewmember; installed a hidden camera and microphone on the vessel in an attempt to record conversations of defendants’ counsel during inspection of the vessel; removed the vessel’s fuel delivery system prior to inspection by defendants’ counsel; and became physically abusive during a deposition. The appellate court held that sanctions were appropriate in this situation. Pan American Grain Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. Puerto Rico Ports Authority. Source: HK Law

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