King County judge Douglas A. North recently issued $50,000 in sanctions, along with an award of attorney fees, in a UIM case titled Kono v. Pacific Star Ins. Co. et al., King County Superior Court Cause No. 12-2-30494-7 SEA. In issuing the discovery sanctions, the trial court made findings of fact and law that the insurer engaged in several willful and unjustified procedural delays and discovery violations such as (1) unjustified removal to federal court, (2) failure to obey discovery orders regarding depositions, (3) engaging in “inappropriate and unprofessional” behavior during depositions, including improper objections and termination of a deposition, and (4) failure to produce the complete claims file after being ordered by the court to do so.
It must be noted that the insurer filed a motion for reconsideration regarding the imposition of sanctions. However, the case settled prior to the hearing on the insurer’s motion for reconsideration and plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees.