Since .PST files are commonly used in business, legal teams need to know what constitutes spoliation of such files. This case helps establish that the criteria are exactly the same as for any other electronically stored information.
In this work-related age discrimination case, the plaintiff sough default judgement for spoliation based on the defendant (1) producing an altered .PST file and (2) the .PST file was missing specific documents.
1) The Altered .PST File: The plaintiff argues that defendant should have produced the .PST file “in whole, untouched, pristine condition.” By only producing a portion of the .PST file and subsequently supplementing the production with the remainder of the .PST file, the defendant altered the .PST, leading to spoliation.
2) The .PST File Missing Emails: On the plaintiff’s last day of employment, plaintiff counted the number of files in the .PST file. Compared to the produced .PST contents, the plaintiff claimed that files were missing.
Download the PDF version of Neely v. The Boeing Company case law alert here.
Like all other forms of ESI, the standard for spoliation sanctions related to .PST files is based on the factors present in FRCP 37(e). Notably, the moving party must prove intent to deprive even when specific files are known to be missing from the .PST file.