The client company, over the last decade, has obtained reports and studies which confirm that there is a link between the toxic fumes and the increasing rate of asthma in the local residence. The problem concerns to devise a strategy so these reports and documents may not be not available to the plaintiff.
STRATEGY: As evident from the above problem, the main concern of the company is that these reports and documents should not be available to the plaintiff for proving the allegation against the company. This can be done by adopting the strategy of ‘Retention of the Documents’ and by the privilege. The case of Rolah Ann McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia can serve as a guideline to adopt these strategies as the said case demonstrated successfully that through these strategies documents harmful to the company mighty be retained (destroyed) or declared privileged so the plaintiff or the court may not require these documents to exhibit for inspection, to avoid any legal ruling. These policies are discussed below separately to view their implications and results. Let us begin with examining the case of McCabe v. BATAS in brief and the strategies adopted.
Rolah Ann McCabe v British American Tobacco Australia: The fifty-one year old plaintiff had lung cancer which she alleged had been caused by smoking the defendant’s cigarettes over approximately four decades. She sued the defendant for damages arising from the defendant’s negligence related to the marketing and sale of their cigarettes. The trial judge ordered that the defence of the defendant tobacco company be struck out and that judgment be entered for the plaintiff. He criticized the defendant for its failure to comply with discovery orders that had been made during the proceeding. BAT was unable to comply with this court order to produce documents because it had over a period of years prior to Mrs. McCabes’s action destroyed large quantities of documents.