Employees come and go. It’s the legal department’s obligation that necessary steps are taken to preserve data from recently departed employees or risk spoliation if a departing employee is involved in pending litigation.
In this employment case, the plaintiff motioned for spoliation sanctions against her former employer, the defendant, for not preserving the plaintiff’s work computer.
After being fired by the defendant, the plaintiff’s counsel sent a notice reminding the defendant of their obligation to preserve data. Nevertheless, via deposition, the defendant’s IT supervisor said that the plaintiff’s computer was given to a charitable organization just 4 days after receiving the notice to preserve.
Based on the destruction of the plaintiff’s work computer, plaintiff contends that a “treasure trove” of relevant information was willfully and intentionally destroyed.
Download the PDF version of Mafille v. Kaiser-Francis Oil case law alert here.
Company’s must preserve the computers (or contents) of departing employees who have sued, or are anticipated to sue, the company. It remains, however, for the plaintiff to show prejudice from the loss of the data. Moreover, courts don’t like “tenuous” sanctions motions that detract from a merits based resolution of the case.