spoliation of evidence


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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.

References in periodicals archive ?
41) Considering the burden an innocent party must overcome when confronted with negligent spoliation of evidence, and the practical difficulties of so doing, this rule appears to be in discord with basic notions of fairness.
In Massachusetts, the SJC has a fairly nebulous approach to imposing sanctions for spoliation of evidence during discovery.
The plaintiffs commenced an action for spoliation of evidence and contempt stating that their inability to perform a physical inspection of the vehicle was a "fatal obstacle" in determining the cause of the fire.
Damages for spoliation of evidence are significant, resulting in discovery sanctions such as the barring of a party from introducing evidence or asserting a theory of defense, or an adverse jury instruction in which the jury is told that it can draw a negative inference against the party that lost the evidence.
We are pleased to offer a ready resource to help resolve problems in litigation involved with the destruction of evidence, or spoliation of evidence, that may add expense, potential tort liability or sanctions that may be outcome determinative," said Koesel.
THE COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA AFFIRMED THE JUDGMENT OF THE TRIAL COURT THAT GORDON COULD INCLUDE HER CLAIM FOR SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE IN HER MALPRACTICE SUIT.
regarding spoliation of evidence, all of which require, as a
A case involving a nursing home resident who bled to death is the focus of "ManorCare and Inadequate Staffing, Spoliation of Evidence, and Corporate Disregard: Keith v.
2005), the Florida Supreme Court reversed two decades of Florida precedent by holding there is no longer a "first-party" tort cause of action for spoliation of evidence.
While early penalties for spoliation of evidence were mostly minor, courts today may hand out harsher sanctions, such as limiting or not allowing the introduction of evidence or presentation of witnesses and dismissing certain theories of liability, such as negligent manufacture of the particular product versus a general design claim.
In addition, he co-authored "Medicine on the Seas," which was published in the Tulane Maritime Law Journal in the summer 2003 edition, as well as "The Necessity of Redefining Spoliation of Evidence Remedies in Florida," published by the Florida State University Law Review.
Coverage is designed to protect against third party claims alleging spoliation of evidence that is material to a legal proceeding.