Osborne v. Todd Farm Service

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting terminating sanctions after plaintiff’s attorney repeatedly disobeyed in limine orders by referring to excluded evidence in his opening statement and questioning of witnesses, prejudicing defendants because jury might think their repeated, proper objections were hiding the true facts from the jury.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in entering terminating sanctions against the plaintiff at trial when her attorney repeatedly violated the court’s in limine rulings which precluded mentioning which company had supplied the hay bale that disintegrated, causing her fall and injury.  The only evidence on that point was either plaintiff’s own expert opinion (which was properly excluded because she failed to identify herself in response to expert witness discovery) or hearsay evidence of other workers about the supplier of the hay bale.  After the trial court granted in limine motions excluding that evidence and admonished plaintiff’s attorney not to mention the evidence or the name of the purported supplier, he did so repeatedly in opening statement and in eliciting testimony.  The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting terminating sanctions in favor of both defendants (though plaintiff’s attorney named only one as the supplier) because his presentation left the jury with the misimpression that both defendants were trying to hide the true facts from the jury.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6 (Yegan, J.); May 2, 2016; 2016 WL 1756753

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