Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit released an opinion stemming from a 2014 negligence lawsuit brought by an injured plaintiff against a trucking company and a driver who worked for the company. According to the opinion, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that a tractor-trailer hit his car, causing him to lose control and slam into the median. The defendants argued that the plaintiff was actually the one who lost control and hit the median before ever hitting the tractor-trailer.
Both parties moved for summary judgment, and the lower court granted the defendants’ motion to strike the plaintiff’s statement of facts – including two expert reports. The expert reports were excluded because they were filed about four months after the deadline. Furthermore, the lower court judge held that the plaintiff did not comply with a rule which requires that any opposition to summary judgment include a statement of material facts.
The plaintiff filed objections and appealed the ruling. The plaintiff argued that the late disclosure was because he believed that there was an open-ended discovery period after an order posting a status was issued. The appellate court found that there was no abuse of discretion in the lower court’s decision to exclude the plaintiff’s expert reports. Furthermore, the court stated that there is nothing in the record that supports the plaintiff’s position that the tractor-trailer hit him. In fact, the court noted that during depositions, the plaintiff admitted to not looking in his rear-view mirror prior to the accident. In sum, the court held that there were no facts in the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that supported his version of the events.