Parties have a duty to preserve potentially relevant data when a party knows or should know that the evidence may be relevant to future litigation. When data is stored in specific locations without backup the likelihood of inadvertent deletion is high. In this case, the defendant failed to preserve relevant evidence and had no backup, which led to spoliation sanctions.
• Sanctions Granted in Part. The court ruled that the plaintiff could present evidence that the time sheet for September was lost. Additionally, the plaintiff could introduce evidence to support her claim that other employees’ “patterns or rate of lateness” was similar to that of the plaintiff during the time period before her termination.
• Request for Adverse Inference Instructions Denied. The court found no evidence that the defendants had an intent to deprive the plaintiff of the September 2019 timesheet. Even though the defendants had a duty to preserve and relevant evidence wasn’t preserved, pure negligence is not enough to warrant one of the harshest spoliation sanctions.
Download the PDF version of this case law alert here.