Costs of Special Master Appointed to Manage Discovery of City’s Computers to be Paid by City as Spoliation Sanction
Padgett v. City of Monte Sereno, 2007 WL 878575 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 20, 2007)
Plaintiffs in this litigation sued the city of Monte Sereno and several city employees for civil rights violations and other torts. Among other things, plaintiffs alleged that certain city employees had sent plaintiffs an anonymous, threatening letter that included a newspaper article downloaded from the Internet. One city employee (Rice) subsequently admitted to authoring and sending the threatening letter from her workstation at City Hall. Although Rice indicated that she wrote the letter at her own direction without telling anyone about it, plaintiffs contended that Rice wrote the letter at the direction of other city employees, including the city manager (Loventhal). To explore this allegation, plaintiffs moved to compel inspection of the city’s computers, printers and backup tapes.