July 30, 2014 – Ventura Superior Court, Ventura, CA
On motion of defense counsel James Yukevich, a Ventura County Judge brought a product liability case to a screeching halt in the middle of Plaintiff’s testimony. Yukevich successfully moved the court for terminating sanctions for Plaintiff’s and her counsel’s flagrant violation of a court order. The presiding Judge dismissed the case with prejudice as to all defendants.
The case of Rebecca Osborne v. Todd Farm Service, et al. stemmed from a claimed defect in a bale of hay. Plaintiff Rebecca Osborne fell from the top of an 11-foot haystack attempting to move the bale of hay when it allegedly broke apart. Plaintiff alleged that the bale of hay she attempted to move was defectively baled and alleged that the defect caused her to fall.
Ms. Osborne sued the distributor, Todd Farm Service, as well as one of the three possible manufacturers of the bale of hay, Berrington Custom Haystacking and Transport, Inc. and its owners Gary and Phyllis Berrington. The Court made a ruling excluding certain evidence regarding the source of the hay. Plaintiff’s counsel, Glenn Murphy, attempted to elicit the excluded evidence through witness testimony multiple times. These attempts were met with objections from defendants, multiple sidebar conversations and warnings from the judge. Notwithstanding multiple warnings by the judge, when Plaintiff took the stand she blurted-out the excluded evidence in response to her counsel’s questioning.
Rather than move for a mistrial, Mr. Yukevich moved for terminating sanctions as to all defendants for Plaintiff and her counsel’s clear and intentional violation of a court order. The judge agreed with Mr. Yukevich’s reasoning and found that Plaintiff and her counsel had flagrantly violated the Court’s order.