U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman said attorneys for TriMet had relied on semantics to pretend the documents didn't exist, The Oregonian reported.
Mosman fined TriMet $5,000 and ordered the agency's lawyers to give the requested documents to lawyers representing the families of two women killed when the driver of a TriMet made an illegal left turn and hit five pedestrians in a crosswalk. The women were crushed under the bus and declared dead at the scene.
Attorneys for the victims had requested numerous internal email messages, memos and other documents in March 2011 but hadn't received the documents in April 2012, about two weeks before the deadline by which the documents could be requested.
TriMet responded the plaintiffs hadn't specifically requested electronic files.
In a hearing last month, Mosman scolded the agency's attorneys, saying TriMet's argument that electronically stored documents were exempt from the request was "completely meritless."
Mosman also required TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane to sign an affidavit swearing the agency had submitted a complete record of the crash.