Bradford Techs., Inc. v. NCV Software.com, No. C 11-04621 EDL, 2013 WL 4033840 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2013)

Key Insight: Where Plaintiff was previously sanctioned for violating the stipulated protective order when Plaintiff?s President viewed Defendant?s source code; where Plaintiff?s president later deleted evidence related to his violation of the stipulated protective order despite a duty to preserve (arising from Defendant?s requests for preservation and two court orders requiring the same), made no effort to preserve the other contents of his laptop, and made ?inconsistent representations to the court?; and where a second employee claimed he was not notified of his preservation obligations and thus wiped the contents of his laptop (at a ?suspicious? time), including a relevant power point, the court declined to impose terminating sanctions absent a showing of prejudice and upon its determination that the orders requiring preservation were arguably ambiguous (?insofar as they required Plaintiff to preserve evidence while at the same time ordering Plaintiff to return discs and delete source code, as Defendants requested?) but did order a monetary award of reasonable expenses that the defendants incurred in taking expedited discovery regarding the source code violation and indicated that ?[t]he court may well allow? Plaintiff?s President?s credibility to be impeached at trial regarding his violation of the protective order

Nature of Case: Breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets

Electronic Data Involved: ESI, contents of laptop(s)

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