spoliation of evidence(redirected from spoilation)
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spoliation of evidence
The destruction of evidence necessary for pending or contemplated litigation.The practice is illegal under common law and under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regardless of the motives or intention of the party responsible for maintaining the evidence.
Example: Landlord Larry has a problem tenant who constantly complains about various unsafe conditions at a 6-year-old apartment complex, attributing them to poor design and construction. The tenant threatens to file suit if Larry does not fix all the defects and give the tenant 6 months free rent. Two days later, as she does on the same date every year, Larry's assistant destroys all noncurrent files more than 5 years old. This includes many of the original development and construction records for the complex. SOX probably does not apply because the apartment complex is not owned by a publicly traded company, but Larry is more than likely guilty of common law spoliation of evidence.