Archive: September 16, 2009

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Court Orders Adverse Inference for Spoliation of Data on Handheld Devices

Court Orders Adverse Inference for Spoliation of Data on Handheld Devices

Southeastern Mechanical Services, Inc. v. Brody, 2009 WL 2883057 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 31, 2009)

Plaintiff Southeastern Mechanical Services, Inc. (“SMS”) moved for spoliation sanctions alleging that defendants, including individual defendants Smith, Sherouse and Brody, spoliated data by deleting it from their BlackBerries and laptops.  Defendants denied the allegations and argued that no evidence was destroyed because all of the data on the individual defendants’ laptops and BlackBerries was stored on servers.  Further, defendants argued that hard copies of the relevant emails were produced to SMS and it was therefore irrelevant whether any information was deleted.  The allegations regarding the laptops were eventually resolved by corporate defendant Thermal Engineering Construction Services, Inc.’s, (“TEI”), explanation that the laptops were configured so that the individual defendants’ emails would reside on the server.  As to the BlackBerries, however, the court found the individual defendants had deleted the data in bad faith and ordered an adverse inference to be provided to the jury at trial.

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