Jerome v. Pardis, 89-323

Docket NºNo. 89-323
Citation783 P.2d 919, 240 Mont. 187
Case DateJanuary 04, 1990
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

Page 919

783 P.2d 919
240 Mont. 187
Ardis JEROME, Plaintiff and Appellant,
William H. PARDIS, D.C., and Pardis Chiropractic Clinic,
P.C., Defendants and Respondents.
No. 89-323.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs Oct. 25, 1989.
Decided Dec. 6, 1989.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 4, 1990.

[240 Mont. 188] Joseph C. Engel, III, Great Falls, for plaintiff and appellant.

J. David Slovak and Neil E. Ugrin, Ugrin, Alexander, Zadick & Slovak, Great Falls, for defendants and respondents.

Page 920

McDONOUGH, Justice.

This appeal involves the imposition of sanctions under Rule 37, M.R.Civ.P. for abuses of discovery. Plaintiff Ardis Jerome appeals the order of the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, granting defendants', William H. Pardis and Pardis Chiropractic Clinics, P.C., motion to dismiss Jerome's cause of action with prejudice. We affirm.

Appellant Jerome raises a sole issue on appeal: Did the District Court abuse its discretion by dismissing Jerome's lawsuit on the grounds that she violated Rule 37, M.R.Civ.P.?

Jerome's complaint alleges that during treatment in early June of 1984, Dr. Pardis negligently caused a herniation of a disk at the L4/L5 level of her spine. After filing of the complaint, Pardis served Jerome with several interrogatories and requests for production. The interrogatories requested Jerome to identify all persons who had treated her back condition and to supply information regarding previous or subsequent injuries, illness or problems involving her [240 Mont. 189] lower back. The requests required production of all Jerome's medical records.

Jerome was served with the request for production on July 20, 1987. On December 8, 1987 Jerome produced medical records from various health care providers, including records from Dr. Mark T. Stoebe, D.C., the treating chiropractor who examined Jerome immediately after the visits with Pardis that allegedly caused her injury. Dr. Stoebe's records included a letter dated October 8, 1986 to Jerome's counsel, in response to questions by Jerome's counsel regarding diagnosis of Jerome's condition and whether Pardis' treatment was appropriate. This letter produced by Jerome from Stoebe's records stated:

The following is a response to your letter dated September 22, 1986. I cannot state with certainty that Dr. Pardis treatment did in effect cause the low back condition that Ardis Jerome came to me complaining of, in that I did not see the patient prior to her adjustment on 6-7-84, although the condition that I examined on 6-8-84 was certainly an acute left lateral grade II disc protrusion of the L4 intervertebral disc. It is my experience that conditions of this type have some kind of traumatic history and I see no indication of previous trauma in Dr. Pardis notes. Also I note an absence of any orthopedic, neurological, or x-ray findings. Furthermore, the patient indicated on 6-8-84 that she had no previous history of sharp low back pain prior to her visit on 6-7-84.

If you have any further questions....

At the September 1, 1988 deposition of Dr. Stoebe, Pardis learned that the letter produced by Jerome's counsel was an apparent rewrite of Dr. Stoebe's original letter of October 8, 1986. The longer version omitted the second to the last sentence and also included additional language after the first sentence, damaging to plaintiff's case:

... First of all a spondylolisthesis implies a congenital malformation of the pars inter articularis. The term applies to an anterior or forward slipping of the body of the lower lumbar vertebrae relative to the pedicles. Research as of the last six months has pointed to a possible traumatic cause of this condition, although it is still speculative at this point. The reason for this theory is that a spondylolisthesis has never been found in any patient under 5 years of age.

It appears as though the adjustments employed by Dr. Pardis on [240 Mont. 190] 6-7-84 were correct and indicated for his findings.... (Letter continues with second sentence as quoted above.)

At his deposition Stoebe testified that both letters were in his file and that the entire file was supplied to Jerome's counsel. Jerome's counsel claims that the original letter was probably discarded, and did not need to be produced anyway because it supported and confirmed plaintiff's theory of liability and thus was not relevant to defendant's case.

Jerome also produced only two pages of a handwritten three page history prepared by Jerome when she first visited Dr. Stoebe. The omitted page indicates in Jerome's own writing that she hurt her back moving and lifting tables about two weeks

Page 921

prior to visiting Stoebe and before she visited Pardis, and that she had back trouble for the last 25 years.

Additionally, after assurances by Jerome's...

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  • Washington State Physicians Ins. Exchange & Ass'n v. Fisons Corp., 57696-3
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • 16 Septiembre 1993
    ...the term "brain damage" includes temporary as well as permanent changes. Clerk's Papers, at 4209-10. 87 See, e.g., Jerome v. Pardis, 240 Mont. 187, 783 P.2d 919 (1989) (holding responses to discovery that attempt to mislead by concealing information which is material to the other party's ca......
  • Seltzer v. Morton, 05-378.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 12 Marzo 2007
    ...¶ 178 The consequence of this policy of intolerance is, in some cases, dismissal of the case with prejudice, see Jerome v. Pardis, 240 Mont. 187, 193, 783 P.2d 919, 923 (1989), and in other cases, the imposition of default judgment on the issue of liability, see Richardson, ¶ 69; Culbertson......
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    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 27 Diciembre 2000
    ...(A), (B), and (C) of that rule and include "rendering a judgment of default against the disobedient party[.]" Jerome v. Pardis (1989), 240 Mont. 187, 191, 783 P.2d 919, 921 (citation omitted). Rule 37(d), on the other hand, provides for the imposition of the same range of sanctions for a (1......
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