Rule 37 Sanctions Awarded Where Defendant Alters An Engineer’s Report

Raimey v. Wright National Flood Insurance (E.D. NY 2014).

The plaintiffs sued the defendant flood insurance carrier for breach of contract. They alleged that their home was damages by flooding during Hurricane Sandy and that the defendant wrongfully denied plaintiffs’ claim.

The defendant was sanctioned because it concealed a report by its engineer who found that the home was damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Sandy. The defendant did not produce the report in discovery. Instead, the defendant altered the report so that it reached the opposite conclusion.  The Magistrate Judge sanctioned the defendant and its counsel and the district court upheld the sanctions.

The district judge held (a) that prior court orders required the defendant to disclose the original unedited engineering report (b) that the failure to produce the report was improper; (c) that the failure to produce the report prejudiced the plaintiffs and made the litigation more costly; and (d) defendant’s counsel attempted to curtail the magistrate’s inquiry concerning the report during a hearing on the issue.

In sum, this is a textbook case of Rule 37 sanctions.

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