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Court Awards Full Costs of $20,472, Since Computer Forensics Experts Were “Particularly Necessary to Uncover Plaintiff’s Skulduggery”

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Plasse v. Tyco Elecs. Corp., 2006 WL 3445610 (D. Mass. Nov. 8, 2006)

This decision follows the court’s earlier order on sanctions, summarized here, in which the court dismissed the complaint with prejudice and invited the defendant to file an application for attorneys’ fees. Defendant sought $79,524.07 in attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $20,472.32. The court noted there was ample justification for a fee award in the record, since the evidence showed that the plaintiff “not only altered and destroyed evidence to prevent relevant discovery by Defendant, but continued to modify and destroy evidence even after the court itself had made it clear that the evidence constituted an appropriate area of inquiry for Defendant.” It reduced the attorney fee amount but awarded full costs, stating:

Given Plaintiff’s egregious conduct, an award of fees and costs is only fair. Given the record of this case, however, a fee award of nearly $80,000 would be excessive. The record of the case, as Plaintiff points out, evidences some degree of duplication and overkill. Based on this, the court will award attorney’s fees in the amount of $35,000.00. The court will award Defendant its full costs, since retention of experts was particularly necessary to uncover Plaintiff’s skulduggery.