SCR-Tech LLC v. Evonik Energy Servs. LLC, No. 08 CVS 16632 (N.C. Super Ct. Dec. 31, 2014)

Key Insight: Where Plaintiff failed to ensure the preservation of information underlying a highly relevant report regarding the examination of certain Defendants? computers over which the court determined it had ?de facto control? (the underlying information, including copies of the images were in the possession of the third party investigator), the court indicated it was not necessary to make an express finding regarding when litigation was contemplated and reasoned that based on the circumstances, Defendants were ?entitled to the inference? that the information was negligently lost during a time when Plaintiff had the duty to preserve it. Thus, the court found Defendants had presented sufficient evidence of spoliation to trigger Plaintiff?s obligation to rebut it and that Plaintiff had not. As a sanction, the court ordered a permissive adverse inference. Regarding Plaintiff?s request to compel Defendant?s restoration of backup tapes, the court identified the state?s relevant three-part test and ordered that if Plaintiff wanted restoration, it would be required to pay half o f the estimated costs up front, with further allocation to occur following analysis of the results of the search.

Electronic Data Involved: ESI, backup tapes

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