One of our clients needed to determine if the defendant driver’s parents had knowledge of their son’s extensive drug and alcohol use. The defendant had a lengthy history of DUIs and was driving a late model luxury car registered to his father when he rear-ended the plaintiff at high speed exiting I-95. Establishing the father’s knowledge of his son’s addiction history was critical to adding him as a defendant to the suit.
The defendant had appeared in court numerous times, and it seemed obvious that the father knew about his son’s addictive behavior; however, establishing that with evidence was another matter. In his deposition the father denied knowing the extent of his son’s addiction and behavior. Our task was to prove otherwise.
We began by examining the defendant’s criminal history at length. Several months prior to this crash, the defendant had appeared at a hearing for a DUI. The hearing had been recorded; we requested a copy of that hearing and had it transcribed. Contained within the transcript is an “unidentified male voice” describing the defendant as living “at home with us,” and taking a variety of medications that would “eliminate or help with the drinking and drugs.” This certainly seemed to be evidence of the father’s prior knowledge. We continued digging. The defendant had a criminal charge for possession of cocaine in another county several years prior to this case. We dispatched a researcher to that courthouse to examine the court file. Contained within that file were notices mailed to the defendant in care of the father. There was also a notice to withdraw from the defendant’s attorney, stating his intent to withdraw as the father would not pay the fee as agreed.
Result: Certified copies of all of these documents were conclusive; when the father was confronted with the documents and the recording of the court hearing, the plaintiff’s attorney was rewarded with a reasonable resolution.
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