Apparently, destroying your first computer with a sledgehammer and using Evidence Eliminator and CCleaner on your second computer (when you have a duty to preserve both) are not considered to be best practices for preservation. Who knew?
In Taylor v. Mitre Corp., (E.D. Va. Nov. 8, 2012), Virginia District Court Judge Liam O’Grady upheld the findings by the Magistrate Judge for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims and payment of the defendant’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs due to “egregious” discovery conduct. Here’s why:
The plaintiff claimed “that CCleaner was set to run automatically, and so even if it did delete relevant documents, the deletion was not intentional.” – a claim that the court found to be “highly suspicious”. However, when it came to the installation of Evidence Eliminator, Judge O’Grady did not mince words:
“For Mr. Taylor to download and run a program whose express purpose is deletion of evidence in direct response to the Magistrate Judge’s order that his computer be produced for inspection was to blatantly disregard his duties in the judicial system under which he sought relief. The Court finds Mr. Taylor’s conduct to be egregious and highly contemptuous of the inspection order. Mr. Taylor has forfeited his right to pursue his claims with this Court any further.”
So, what do you think? Is this the most egregious example of spoliation you’ve ever seen? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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