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Davis v. Honda

Davis v. Honda

We successfully challenged a court secrecy order and unsealed a scathing 36-page decision that sanctioned American Honda Motor Company (Honda) and its expert witness for deliberately tampering with evidence.  The lawsuit was based on a 1999 accident in a Honda Civic that left plaintiff Sarah Davis, then 17 years old, a quadriplegic.  The sanctions decision held the automaker liable after the court found that Honda’s expert witness, Robert Gratzinger, had deliberately tampered with key evidence in the case.  However, the sanctions decision was vacated and sealed from public view as part of a settlement.   We filed motions on behalf of a national auto safety group and attorneys representing car crash victims in Tennessee and Mississippi, who successfully sought to end the secrecy blanketing the decision.  Our co-counsel were Dina Micheletti and Jeffrey Fazio of San Mateo, California.

Case Documents

  • Decision.



  • News release.



  • Transcript of oral argument

    Transcript of oral argument in this court secrecy case, which resulted in the unsealing of a blistering 36-page sanctions order against Honda and its expert witness Robert Gratzinger for "deliberately" tampering with physical evidence in an auto safety case. 



    Docket: California Superior Court, County of Placer, No. SCV 9736
  • challenge

    Our challenge to an extraordinary court order that sealed, vacated, and barred reference to a court decision that sanctioned an expert witness and the American Honda Motor Company for deliberately tampering with evidence.  We asked a California state court to make public its 2002 sanctions decision in an auto safety case.  The lawsuit was based on a 1999 accident in a Honda Civic that left plaintiff Sarah Davis, then 17 years old, a quadriplegic. 



    Docket: California Superior Court, County of Placer, No. SCV 9736
  • Order amending the motion to seal