U-Haul a good candidate for the corporate death penalty
Kern County Superior Court judge declared in December that he would sanction U-Haul for "extreme negligence" in losing the evidence. Two weeks later, a federal judge in Ohio penalized U-Haul for similar conduct in a separate case.
U-Haul, the leader of the do-it-yourself moving industry, has repeatedly lost, altered or discarded truck and trailer parts sought by injured customers who sued the company, a Times investigation found.
In some cases, the company scrapped or repaired damaged parts in defiance of court orders that they be preserved as evidence.
For example, in this case of a death in Alabama:
In 1996, an Alabama judge struck the company's defense for violating an order to preserve components of a tow dolly involved in a deadly wreck.
Roger D. Waldon Sr., 46, was towing a Mercury Cougar on a dolly behind his Dodge truck when he lost control, crashed, and was thrown from his pickup and fatally injured. Waldon's son sued U-Haul, claiming that the dolly was defective.
Six days after the accident, plaintiff lawyers obtained a court order barring U-Haul from altering the dolly or removing it from a wrecking yard.
The judge later amended the order to allow U-Haul to transfer the dolly to a warehouse. But he ordered U-Haul "not to remove, loosen, adjust, disassemble or alter any of the components."
Inspecting the dolly, plaintiffs' experts found worn tire straps and a broken hook — proof, they said, that the device had been rented in a dangerous condition. But when the dolly arrived at a metallurgical lab for further testing, the suspect components were gone.
Again: If corporations really are persons, then they should pay the penalties that persons do when they kill or destroy evidence.
Of course, these examples from U-Haul are easy to understand.
But don't get me started on the "health" insurance companies.