Oregon Transit Agency Fined for Withholding Documents in Lawsuit

An Oregon transit agency was fined $5,000 this week for withholding electronic documents in a lawsuit involving two pedestrians who were struck and killed by a city bus in 2010. 

The fine was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman, who found that the transit company TriMet failed to hand over documents requested by attorneys representing the victims' families because they didn't specifically request "electronic files."

Lawyers for the victims' families requested email messages, memos and other documents from TriMet's attorneys in March 2011 as part of the discovery process, but never received them.

Mosman admonished TriMet's attorneys, saying they were relying on semantics to withhold the documents and pretend they did not exist.

TriMet's attorneys were ordered to give the documents to the attorneys for the families of the two pedestrians. The women were killed when the driver of a TriMet bus made an illegal left turn and struck them and three other pedestrians who were in a marked crosswalk.