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Failure to Disclose Discovery leads to RICO action in NJ

January 14, 2009

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Typically, a failure to provide discovery disclosure may result in an admonition from the Court; preclusion of evidence; or in certain extreme situations, the striking of pleadings. But in a never-ending New Jersey litigation, discovery non-disclosures have lead to a RICO lawsuit and recently, an order to unseal previously protected materials.
Plaintiff Michael Green originally filed suit against General Motors in New Jersey for catastrophic injuries caused by a defective product design, and ultimately received a $14 million award. Subsequently, plaintiff’s counsel learned that GM made disclosures in a Tennessee case regarding alternative roof designs considered by GM, but had not provided this information to plaintiff in the New Jersey lawsuit.
Now, in Newman v. General Motors Corp., 02-135, U.S. District Court in New Jersey, plaintiff’s estate is pressing its case against GM for concealment and a violation of the New Jersey Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
In the current litigation, the Court has given the plaintiff broad access to discovery of privileged communications between GM and its counsel in the product defect case, and also ordered depositions of GM’s house and outside counsel. Recently, in keeping with the federal courts concern for open access to public records, the Court ordered unsealing of records previously deemed confidential or privileged.
We have linked a recent order regarding discovery, and he will continue to follow this interesting litigation.
Thanks to Denise Ricci for her contribution.
<a href="http://pdf.wcmlaw.com/pdf/newmanvgm.pdf">Newman v. GM</a>

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