Ralser v. Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., No. 13-2799, 2015 WL 5016351 (E.D. La. Aug. 21, 2015)

Key Insight: Where Defendant was unable to produce the original version of a particularly relevant document in native format and claimed the loss resulted from the automatic deletion of the original version pursuant to the company?s document retention policy, the court declined to impose sanctions reasoning that a later version of the document was provided to Defendant?s legal department, that it was ?not obvious? that prior versions needed to be preserved and that by the time Plaintiff filed his lawsuit following termination, a year had passed and the document would have been destroyed under the retention policy; the court further reasoned:? While this destruction still occurred during the litigation hold, the fact that Winn Dixie?s normal retention policy called for the document?s destruction undermines a finding of bad faith because Winn?Dixie?s failure to adjust the document retention system to comply with the litigation hold signified an omission, and not a commission. In other words, Winn?Dixie?s failure to retain the electronic document was not the result of a directed action to delete the document but rather a failure to turn off the automatic deletion mechanism. Such action, at best, amounts to negligence and does not rise to the level of bad faith.?

Nature of Case: Employment litigation

Electronic Data Involved: Original version of relevant ESI

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