Our clients were brought into a civil action for indemnity and contribution arising out of a claim being made by the House Ear Institute that a gasoline station that our clients operated had leaked gasoline onto the plaintiff's real property thereby causing House Ear Institute to sustain damages in excess of $20,000,000. This case was tendered to our client's insurance carrier which agreed to defend our clients with a full reservation of rights.
After conducting extensive discovery, I learned that one of the defendants who was solely holding us into the case had destroyed the gasoline tank and lines that had allegedly leaked thereby depriving our clients of the opportunity to have this evidence reviewed by their experts. I then brought a motion against this defendant for evidentiary sanctions precluding it from introducing into evidence any expert witness evidence against our clients.
Following three attempts, the trial court finally granted the motion. I then proceeded with a motion for summary judgment against the defendant that destroyed the evidence on the ground that there was no evidence to establish that the gasoline station's tank and lines leaked when my clients operated the station and the one leak that was found was so small that it was not the cause of the plaintiff's damages in the case. After two attempts, our clients were dismissed from the action because the motion for summary judgment was granted by the court. Our clients did not pay one dime to defend themselves in this action because it was all paid for by their carrier.