Archive: December 1, 2016

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Nelson v Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-607 (SRN/SER), 2016 WL 6917205 (D. Minn. May 13, 2016)
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Moore v. Lowe?s Home Centers, LLC, No. 2:14-cv-01459 RJB, 2016 WL 3458353 (W.D. Wash. June 24, 2016)
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Delphi Commc?ns. Inc. v. Advanced Computing Techs. Inc., No. A15A1655, 2016 WL 1176998 (Ga. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2016)
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Garcia v. City of Farmington, No. Civ. 12-383 JCH/SCY, 2016 WL 7438045 (D. N.M. Jul. 5, 2016)
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Yeti Coolers, LLC v. RTIC Coolers, LLC, No. A-15-CV-597-RP, 2016 WL 6916944 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 11, 2016)
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Thorne Research Inc. v. Atl. Pro-Nutrients, Inc., No. 2:13-cv-784, 2016 WL 1122863 (D. Utah Mar. 22, 2016)
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Muhammad v. Mathena, No. 7:14cv00529, 2016 WL 8116155 (W.D. Va. Dec. 12, 2016)
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Cohn v. Guaranteed Rate, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-9369, 2016 WL 7157358 (N.D. Ill. Dec 8, 2016)
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Miller v. Bank of Am., N.A., 201 So.3d 1286 (Fl. Dist. Ct. App. 2016)
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Miller v. Bank of Am., N.A., 201 So.3d 1286 (Fl. Dist. Ct. App. 2016)

Nelson v Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-607 (SRN/SER), 2016 WL 6917205 (D. Minn. May 13, 2016)

Key Insight: Relying on Plaintiffs? delay in raising its problems with discover and the principle of proportionality, particularly ?the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues and whether the burden of production outweighs the discovery?s likely benefits,? the court denied Plaintiff?s motion to compel additional pre-certification discovery; court?s analysis included rejection of proposed sampling where it was clear that ?sampling would be the beginning rather than the end, of this issue? and because of Plaintiffs? delay in making the suggestions (?But this type of proposal should lead to meaningful conversations during discovery, not at the end of it.?; ?To attempt to begin negotiations about discovery at the end of the discovery period demonstrates at best a lack of diligence and at worst a lack of respect for the Court?s scheduling order.)

Nature of Case: Class action

Electronic Data Involved: Database, email

Moore v. Lowe?s Home Centers, LLC, No. 2:14-cv-01459 RJB, 2016 WL 3458353 (W.D. Wash. June 24, 2016)

Key Insight: No sanctions imposed for Defendant?s deletion of Plaintiff?s email in accordance with Defendant?s email retention policy following her termination where Plaintiff?s emails to HR and management ?did not raise ?potential claims? but rather raise Plaintiff?s concerns about workplace gossip and challenging relationships? and where other ?low-level employees? general awareness that Plaintiff was rumored to pursue litigation? did not result in a duty to preserve

Nature of Case: Employment litigation

Electronic Data Involved: Emails of departed/terminated employee

Delphi Commc?ns. Inc. v. Advanced Computing Techs. Inc., No. A15A1655, 2016 WL 1176998 (Ga. Ct. App. Mar. 28, 2016)

Key Insight: Appellate court upheld trial court?s decision to strike defendants? answer and enter default judgment (as to one claim) as a spoliation sanction for Defendants? failure to preserve an image of their hard drives

Nature of Case: Claims against former employees and thier employer alleging copying of Plaintiff’s software products and solicitation of Plaintiff’s customers without consent

Electronic Data Involved: ESI

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

Yeti Coolers, LLC v. RTIC Coolers, LLC, No. A-15-CV-597-RP, 2016 WL 6916944 (W.D. Tex. Nov. 11, 2016)

Key Insight: Where Defendant resisted searching certain emails arguing undue burden and that it was unlikely that responsive emails would be found but where no evidence of burden was submitted, where not even a cursory search of the emails was undertaken and where there were examples of the sorts of email sought produced from other employees, the court ordered Defendant to conduct the requested search; similarly, where Defendant offered no evidence of the alleged burden to review and produce the at-issue call recordings, where Plaintiff offered to bear the full cost of transcribing the messages, and where the court determined that the likelihood that the calls would be privileged was low, the court ordered Defendant to produce the raw audiofiles of its customer service calls and voicemail; notably, at the outset of its analysis the court noted that at least 10 attorneys had appeared for each party and that it was ?apparent that the issues at stake are significant,? including posing an ?existential risk? to Defendant and therefore concluded that ?any proportionality argument has a high bar to clear to be successful?

Nature of Case: Trademark infringement

Electronic Data Involved: Customer service emails, call recordings

Muhammad v. Mathena, No. 7:14cv00529, 2016 WL 8116155 (W.D. Va. Dec. 12, 2016)

Key Insight: Prison employees? failure to preserve surveillance footage of inmate altercation despite notice of the obligation to do so was negligent; negligence imputed to other employees named as Defendants in Eighth Amendment claim where, despite the lack of a conventional agency relationship, the negligent/spoliating non-parties were not merely ?disinterested third parties? but rather were employees of the institution(s) responsible for preserving evidence in prisoner litigation and where requiring a conventional agency relationship would ?present a dilemma in the context of prison litigation .. where responsibility for preserving evidence may be spread out among multiple officials within an institute and where the institutions themselves are typically immune from suit?; as sanction, court forbade Defendants from putting on evidence related to Plaintiff?s disciplinary charges and conviction or the actual contents of the video and indicated it would instruct the jury that Plaintiff had requested the footage be preserved and it was not and that ?the jurors should not assume that the lack of corroborating objective evidence? undermined Plaintiff?s ?version of events surrounding the fight?

Nature of Case: Pro se Eighth Amendment Claims (prison litigation)

Electronic Data Involved: Surveillance footage

Cohn v. Guaranteed Rate, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-9369, 2016 WL 7157358 (N.D. Ill. Dec 8, 2016)

Key Insight: Defendant sought production of Plaintiff?s emails, imposition of spoliation sanctions, and an extension of the discovery deadline. Plaintiff previously agreed to produce responsive documents from her Gmail and LinkedIn account, but failed to do so (later third party productions contained emails sent from her Gmail account). Plaintiff admitted she deleted emails from her Gmail account at various times, and evidence showed she instructed a subordinate to start using their personal email addresses and to delete various emails. The court found (i) a duty to preserve existed as of at least November 30, 2013, (ii) that Plaintiff breached that duty when she deleted emails, and (iii) there was a strong inference that the emails would have been unfavorable to Plaintiff because (iv) she deleted the emails in bad faith (to admittedly ?hide? the information). The court denied Defendant?s motion for equitable relief, but allowed Defendant?s alternate request that Plaintiff must provide full access to her Gmail account (details to be addressed in a meet-and-confer).

Nature of Case: Breach of contract and related claims

Electronic Data Involved: Emails (gmail)

Miller v. Bank of Am., N.A., 201 So.3d 1286 (Fl. Dist. Ct. App. 2016)

Key Insight: On appeal from a final judgment of foreclosure, the appellate court found the trial court erred in admitting a screen shot of a computer-generated document purporting to reflect the sale of the mortgage note to Appellee, over Appellant?s hearsay objection. The original note was lost, so Appellee?s witness, who testified regarding the sale of the note, ?relied entirely upon a screen shot of a computer-generated document referred to as a Loan Transfer History (LNTH)? to establish Appellee?s right to foreclose. The witness testified she did not know who entered the information displayed in the screen shot, or if it was entirely computer generated. The Court held ?Ms. Allen?s affirmative answers to business record foundation questions do no overcome her demonstrated lack of knowledge about the creation, accuracy or trustworthiness of the LNTH document.?

Nature of Case: Foreclosure

Electronic Data Involved: Screen shot

Miller v. Bank of Am., N.A., 201 So.3d 1286 (Fl. Dist. Ct. App. 2016)

Key Insight: On appeal from a final judgment of foreclosure, the Appellate Court found the Trial Court erred in admitting a screen shot of a computer-generated document purporting to reflect the sale of the mortgage note to Defendant, over Appellant?s hearsay objection. The original note was lost, so Appellee?s witness, who testified regarding the sale of the note, ?relied entirely upon a screen shot of a computer-generated document referred to as a Loan Transfer History (LNTH)? to establish Defendant?s right to foreclose. The witness testified she did not know who entered the information displayed in the screen shot, or if it was entirely computer generated. The Court held ?Ms. Allen?s affirmative answers to business record foundation questions do no overcome her demonstrated lack of knowledge about the creation, accuracy or trustworthiness of the LNTH document.?

Nature of Case: Foreclosure

Electronic Data Involved: Screen Shot

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