Mitchell v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for personal injury and property damage allegedly suffered in an automobile accident. Plaintiff seeks to vacate the trial court's order granting defendant's motion in limine. The trial court's order excluded the testimony of three of plaintiff's proposed witnesses and was imposed as an evidence sanction for plaintiff's alleged failure to respond completely to an interrogatory. The court concluded that the Superior Court committed an abuse of discretion and that issuance of an alternative writ and oral argument would not measurably contribute to the court's consideration of the issue and would cause undue delay. In this case, even if interrogatory No. 12.1 could be construed as a request for the identity of witnesses who would testify to post-accident physical disabilities and difficulties, there was no evidence that plaintiff’s failure to identify the witnesses was willful or that plaintiff contravened a court order to provide discovery. Accordingly, it was error to impose an evidence sanction based on plaintiff’s failure to divulge the names of the three witnesses in response to interrogatory No. 12.1 or to defendant’s general request for supplemental responses to interrogatories. The court vacated the order.