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Court Awards $1,049,850.04 in Attorney’s Fees and Costs as Sanction for Discovery Abuse in “Victor Stanley II”

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc., No. MJG-06-2662 (D. Md. Jan. 24, 2011)

On January 24, 2011, Magistrate Judge Grimm entered an order awarding $1,049,850.04 in attorney’s fees and costs as a sanction for discovery abuse, as discussed in Victor Stanley IIThe amount addressed “attorney’s fees and costs associated with all discovery that would not have been un[der]taken but for Defendants’ spoliation, as well as the briefings and hearings regarding Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions.”  As the court explained, “[t]his is because the effects of spoliation are not limited to a party’s efforts to discover and to prove the spoliation and its scope.  Rather, the willful loss or destruction of relevant evidence taints the entire discovery and motions practice.”  In this case specifically, the court found that “Defendants’ first spoliation efforts corresponded with the beginning of litigation” and that “Defendants’ misconduct affected the entire discovery process since the commencement of this case.”

Accordingly, the court awarded $901,553.00 in attorney’s fees and $148,297.04 in costs, which included $95,969.04 for Plaintiff’s computer forensic consultant that was “initially hired . . . to address the early evidence of spoliation by Defendants and to prevent further destruction of data” and that also provided processing services and participated in the preparation of plaintiff’s search and collection protocol, which the court found “pertained to Defendants’ spoliation efforts.”

A fully copy of the order is available here.