Garcia v. City of Farmington, No. Civ. 12-383 JCH/SCY, 2016 WL 7438045 (D. N.M. Jul. 5, 2016)

Key Insight: Plaintiff created audio recordings during her employment with Defendant, transcribing some of them and later deleting recordings she felt to be insignificant. Plaintiff also claimed her computer ?crashed? in 2011 or 2012 and that caused her to lose material (this issue not raised at previous deposition). After the close of trial, Defendant filed a Renewed Motion for Adverse Spoliation Inference and to Strike Testimony. The court found Plaintiff had a duty to preserve because she made the recordings after she filed a grievance and EEOC charge. Plaintiff admitted that the deleted recordings did not ?capture unfair and discriminatory treatment of her,? which the court found to ?cure any prejudice Defendant may have suffered.? The court found that Plaintiff?s actions ?were intentional and more than merely negligent, but she did not act with a sinister intent,? and that Plaintiff did not understand she needed to preserve all the recordings. The court will consider Defendant?s evidence of Plaintiffs spoliation when it weighs the evidence presented at trial, but otherwise denied Defendant?s request to impose sanctions.

Nature of Case: Renewed Motion for Adverse Spoliation Inference and to Strike Testimony, on underlying case of discrimination and retaliation

Electronic Data Involved: Audio recordings

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