SUCCESS STORY

Court Strikes Opposing Party’s Counterclaims Due to Failure to Comply With Discovery Orders

Claims Alleged: Negligence

Injuries Alleged: Concussion; and Property Damage

Admitted Liability: No

The Overview:

Smith Freed Eberhard achieved a great result for our client in Washington State Court when the court granted our client’s Motion to Strike the counterclaims the defendant asserted against our client. Smith Freed Eberhard associate Narmina Sharifova came on to the case in the late stages of the underlying action and quickly evaluated the facts of a complex personal injury claim by the defendant. Narmina sifted through a large amount of pleadings and a convoluted litigation history to evaluate the best plan of action to defend our client against the defendant’s personal injury claims.

The Background:

In the underlying case, the plaintiff (our client) filed a claim against the tenants (the defendants) of his rental property for unlawful detainer. The defendants filed a crossclaim against our client for a traumatic brain injury and property damage because a tree branch fell through the sunroof of his car. The defendant refused numerous times to answer our client’s interrogatories and request for production.

Defendants’ Theme:

The defendant sought to bring counterclaims for injuries in response to the claims our client brought against him for damages to our client’s rental property, for failure to pay rent, and for remaining on the property in spite of several notices for eviction. Before this case was given to Smith Freed Eberhard, the defendants secured a default judgment against our client that was subsequently overturned.

Our Strategy:

Narmina waded through many prior pleadings and worked diligently to defend against the defendant’s counterclaim. She attempted to engage in discovery with the defendant, but he never responded to her written discovery requests. Narmina then secured an order from the court to compel discovery. Despite the court order, the defendant still failed to respond to discovery talks or provide answers to interrogatories and requests for production. Narmina then filed a Motion to Strike all of the defendant’s crossclaim due to the defendant’s failure to comply with the court order compelling discovery.

The Outcome:

The court recognized the work Narmina did to try and engage in discovery with the defendant in good faith. Additionally, the court saw the defendant’s complete lack of response and failure to comply with the court’s order compelling discovery. At oral argument, the court granted our motion to strike the counterclaims against our client in their entirety.  This was a huge win for our client and his claims adjuster.

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