A few years ago, we covered a case law decision in the Delta/Air Tran Baggage Fee Antitrust Litigation, where Delta was ordered to pay plaintiff attorney’s fees and costs for eDiscovery issues in that litigation. Apparently, Delta’s difficulties in this case have continued, as they have been ordered this week to pay over $2.7 million in sanctions for failing to turn over ESI, to go along with more than $4.7 million in sanctions for earlier discovery violations.
In Charvat et. al. v. Valente et. al., Illinois Magistrate Judge Mary M. Rowland denied the plaintiff’s request for spoliation sanctions for the defendant’s admitted destruction of computer files belonging to two departed employees, finding that the plaintiff did not provide any evidence that the defendant acted in bad faith.
In Giuliani v. Springfield Township, et al., Pennsylvania District Judge Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr. denied the plaintiffs' motion for spoliation sanctions, finding that the duty to preserve began when the case was filed and finding that “plaintiffs have not shown that defendants had any ill motive or bad intent in failing to retain the documents which plaintiffs seek”.
In Malibu Media, LLC v. Michael Harrison, Indiana District Judge William T. Lawrence denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, upholding the magistrate judge’s ruling which found an adverse inference instruction for destroying a hard drive with potentially responsive data on it to be not warranted, and ruled that “it will be for a jury to decide” if such a sanction is appropriate.
In Lynn M. Johnson v. BAE Systems, Inc. et. al., District of Columbia District Judge Robert L. Wilkins granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment with respect to the plaintiff's claims for negligence, battery, and defamation, but chose to “impose lesser, but nonetheless severe, sanctions” in the form of an adverse inference instruction for her remaining claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In Malibu Media, LLC v. Tashiro, Indiana Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore issued a Report and Recommendation on Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions, recommending that the Court grant the plaintiff's motion against the defendants for spoliation of evidence and perjury and enter default judgment against the defendants.
In HMS Holdings Corp. v. Arendt, et al., the New York Supreme Court in Albany County ordered a mandatory adverse inference instruction so that the trier of fact could “draw the strongest possible adverse inference from defendants' bad faith and intentional destruction, deletion and failure to produce relevant evidence”. The court also awarded attorney fees, and forwarded a copy of the order regarding Defendant Lange to the New York State Committee on Professional Standards for attorneys.
In Compass Bank v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, California Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo ruled that the plaintiff “wilfully engaged in the spoliation of relevant evidence”, and “has demonstrated a pattern of recalcitrant behavior during discovery in this litigation” and awarded an adverse inference jury instruction sanction against the plaintiff as well as defendant’s attorney fees and costs.
In Clear-View Technologies, Inc., v. Rasnick et al, California Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal sanctioned the defendants $212,320 and also granted a permissive adverse jury instruction that allows the presumption that the defendants' spoliated documents due to a series of “transgressions” by the defendants and their prior counsel.
In Crews v. Avco Corp., a Washington Court of Appeals upheld a “death penalty order” against the defendant for discovery violations, including the failure to produce relevant information, but remanded for amendment of the final judgment of over $17.28 million to reflect any offsets for settlements with other defendants.
In Gladue v. Saint Francis Medical Center, Missouri District Judge Carol E. Jackson denied the plaintiff's motion for evidentiary and monetary sanctions due to spoliation of evidence, finding that the defendant did not have a duty to preserve emails deleted as part of routine IT operations, had diligently attempted to recover deleted emails and that the plaintiff failed to show that any of the unrecovered emails were relevant to her claims.
In Malone v. Kantner Ingredients, Nebraska Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart denied the plaintiffs' motion to show cause, finding that the defendant “the plaintiffs have presented no evidence” that the defendant “destroyed, hid, or purposefully (or even recklessly) failed to produce responsive ESI” in the case.
In Grady v. Brodersen, Colorado Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang granted the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against the defendant in part for failing to produce a computer that the defendant ultimately acknowledged that he discarded, but denied the plaintiff’s request for a default judgment sanction, opting for the less severe adverse inference instruction sanction.
An Arkansas lawyer representing three Fort Smith police officers in a whistleblower case is seeking sanctions after his computer expert found malware on an external hard drive supplied in response to a discovery request, according to a story by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
In Engineered Abrasives, Inc. v. American Machine Products & Service, Inc., Illinois District Judge Sara L. Ellis awarded the plaintiff damages, attorneys’ fees and some requested costs, as well as granting the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions and ordering the defendants to reimburse the plaintiff $12,800 for the cost of conducting a forensic computer examination, which the plaintiff maintained was necessitated by Defendants' evasive and incomplete responses and their failure to produce documents during discovery.
In Harrell v. Pathmark et al., Pennsylvania District Judge Gene E. K. Pratter, after a hearing to consider whether to draw an adverse inverse instruction due to the defendant’s possible spoliation of video evidence, determined that “a spoliation inference would not be appropriate here”. Finding that the plaintiff had presented no evidence that the defendant had constructive notice of a dangerous condition resulting in her slip and fall, Judge Pratter also granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
In Lunkenheimer Co. v. Tyco Flow Control Pacific Party Ltd., Ohio District Judge Timothy S. Black ruled that the duty to preserve for the defendant (an Australian company with offices and facilities only in Australia) did not begin until the complaint was filed in US courts in December 2011, denying the assertion of the intervenor/counter defendant that the duty to preserve arose in 2002.
In Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Westport Insurance Corp., Michigan Magistrate Judge Phillip J. Green awarded some (but not all) of the attorney fees requested by the defendant after the plaintiff “made repeated promises to produce the subject documents”, but “failed to do so for nearly three months after the deadline for responding to Westport's Rule 34 request” and “compliance was obtained only after Westport filed its motion to compel”.
In Ablan v. Bank of America, Illinois Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin recommended that the defendant’s Motion for Sanctions should be granted in part and denied in part, recommending that the plaintiffs be barred from using any new information at summary judgment or at trial that was contained on eight CD-ROMs produced late, but recommending no sanctions for failing to produce or make available documents held by the plaintiff’s outside vendor.
In James v. National Financial LLC, Delaware Vice Chancellor Laster granted the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions after determining that the defendant’s “discovery misconduct calls for serious measures”. However, the plaintiff’s request for a default judgment was not granted, but lesser sanctions that included attorneys’ fees and a ruling that the lack of information contained in the requested document resulted in an admission.
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