Monday, March 10, 2008, 5:59 PM

NC Supreme Court PDR Orders

On Friday the Supreme Court granted discretionary review in a few cases.

One involves a Court of Appeals (COA) decision which upheld a common law claim for obstruction of justice based on a hospital's failure to maintain x-rays, even though no lawsuit was pending and or threatened against the hospital. (For our earlier post on that case, entitled "COA Recognizes 'Obstruction of Justice' Tort, Even When Alleged Obstruction Doesn't Occur In Pending Case," see here.) The case is Grant v. High Point Regional Health System. HPRHS filed a petition for discretionary review (PDR), complaining that the COA's decision basically creates a new cause of action for spoliation of evidence and greatly expands N.C. tort law. The case raises a question about the scope of a civil action for obstruction of justice. According to the PDR, under the COA's decision, "Any party, regardless of whether adverse, irrespective of whether litigation is pending or even threatened, will be subject to a claim for 'obstruction of justice' if they do not comply with a request for documents, data or other information to the satisfaction of the individual making the request. The result will be to greatly expand the universe of potential defendants to include not merely the parties to a dispute, but conceivably their doctors, accountants, employers, and anyone else maintaining information thought relevant to the dispute. The result will also invite speculation among juries who are asked not to decide cases, but to speculate about the effect untimely or unavailable evidence may have had on another case, or conceivably a case that never existed."

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