Kvitka v. Puffin Co., LLC, 2009 WL 385582 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 13, 2009)
Finding plaintiff intentionally discarded her laptop despite a duty to preserve it, the court ordered dismissal of her claims and an adverse inference instruction as to defendants’ cross-claims.
After years of advertising in defendants’ magazine, plaintiff Kvitka, an antique doll dealer, received notice that defendants were terminating her right to advertise because of complaints about her business practices, including that she disparaged other advertisers and dealers. In the parties’ subsequent discussions, defendants revealed their possession of a file containing several complaints about Kvitka as well as 15 pages of emails, written by her, in which she disparaged other advertisers.
Unable to resolve the conflict out of court, Kvitka filed suit. In the course of discovery, it was revealed that despite Kvitka’s counsel’s receipt of correspondence from defendants specifically requesting preservation of Kvitka’s computer and emails, Kvitka had nonetheless discarded her laptop.