Plaintiff Who Came to Deposition Stoned Has Case Dismissed and Must Pay Fees

A plaintiff whose deposition was aborted because he was under the influence of drugs, and who failed to comply with consequent sanctions, has seen his case dismissed with prejudice.

On Aug. 18, Superior Court Judge Vincent LeBlon in Middlesex County, N.J., also entered judgments against John Freeman for $9,375, the fees of the six defense attorneys who attended the botched dep. . . .

[F]reeman, a roofer, sought $3 million in damages for a shattered left elbow sustained in a fall at an East Hanover jobsite. But at his deposition on Dec. 21, 2005, defense lawyers pressed for details of a prior drug conviction, which was relevant to their suspicions that Freeman was using drugs at the time of his fall.

Upon objection from his lawyer, Blume Goldfaden associate Richard Villanov, the defense lawyers called LeBlon in chambers for a ruling. The lawyers also told LeBlon that Freeman appeared to be on drugs that day, as his speech was slurred, his pupils sometimes rolled backward and his answers were contradictory. LeBlon ordered Freeman to a hospital for an immediate drug test. After some further dickering among the lawyers and the judge, Freeman left the dep and never went for testing.

On March 10, LeBlon dismissed the case without prejudice and imposed $9,375 in sanctions against Freeman for the fees of the defense lawyers.

Details here from the New Jersey Law Journal via