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

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