A Kern County (California) Judge levied sanctions against U-Haul for “losing” evidence that one of its do-it-yourself moving trucks was defective and caused serious personal injuries to a customer. This is not the first time U-Haul has been sanctioned for similar behavior.
The evidence had disappeared.
A Kern County Superior Court judge declared in December that he would sanction U-Haul for “extreme negligence” in losing the evidence. Two weeks later, a federal judge in Ohio penalized U-Haul for similar conduct in a separate case.
U-Haul, the leader of the do-it-yourself moving industry, has repeatedly lost, altered or discarded truck and trailer parts sought by injured customers who sued the company, a Times investigation found.
In some cases, the company scrapped or repaired damaged parts in defiance of court orders that they be preserved as evidence.
At least twice, judges have imposed on U-Haul an exceedingly rare and severe sanction for misconduct in a civil case: throwing out the company’s defense and entering judgments in favor of plaintiffs who needed the missing evidence to pursue their claims.
U-Haul’s example proves that giant corporations cannot get away with thwarting the civil justice system. If you have been injured as a result of a corproration’s conduct, do not be afraid to contact an attorney and pursue your claim, even if you have been told that the evidence at issue has (conveniently) disappeared.