Barry v. Big M Transp. Inc., No 1:16-cv-00167-JEO, 2017 WL 3980549 (N.D. Ala. Sept. 11, 2017)

Key Insight: Court found Defendant?s failure to preserve a vehicle?s Electronic Control Module (ECM) data after it was aware of a severe accident, contrary to the Defendant?s ?normal practice,? constituted spoliation. Court denied Plaintiffs? motion for a negative inference under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 (e) as the Plaintiffs were able to reconstruct the accident and vehicle?s speed from other sources and that the failure to preserve was not intentional based on the defendants? plausible, though erroneous, understanding that the data was overridden by the removal of the damaged vehicle from the scene. Court found a jury instruction that ECM data was not preserved and allowing both parties to present evidence and argument at trial regarding defendant?s failure to preserve the data to be a sufficiently effective sanction.

Nature of Case: Personal injury (auto accident)

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic Control Module (ECM)

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