Category: Case Summaries

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Court Imposes Sanctions and Solicits Spoliation Instructions; Motion to Compel Production from Backup Tapes Reserved
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Sanctions Denied when Data Destroyed Absent Bad Faith or Showing of Prejudice
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Court Allows Examination of Hard Drive and Servers
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Court Denies Restoration of Deleted Files in Favor of Targeted Searches
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Court Need Not Compel Hard Copy Production where More Reasonable Accommodation Available
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Court Denies Motion for Adverse Inference and Spoliation Instructions; Motion for Restoration from Backup Tapes Denied
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Court Imposes Sanctions for Failure to Review Email and Preserve Data
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Court Grants Motion to Compel Production of Information on Computer Disks
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Court Denies Motion to Compel Discovery in order to Establish Backdating of Document
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Court Allows Expedited Discovery, Issues Site Inspection Order, and Sanctions Defendant for Deletion of Files

Court Imposes Sanctions and Solicits Spoliation Instructions; Motion to Compel Production from Backup Tapes Reserved

Linnen v. A.H. Robbins Co., 1999 WL 462015 (Mass. Super. June 16, 1999)

Plaintiffs moved to compel the production of email restored from defendant’s backup tapes. The estimated cost of restoration of the tapes and retrieval of responsive email ranged between $300,000 to over $1.4 million. Read More

Sanctions Denied when Data Destroyed Absent Bad Faith or Showing of Prejudice

N.Y. Nat’l Org. for Women v. Cuomo, 1998 WL 395320 (S.D.N.Y. July 14, 1998)

Potentially relevant material was lost when, at the end of the Cuomo administration, computer databases containing letters and reports sent to the governor, outgoing letters, internal memoranda, monthly summary reports and electronic mail, along with information saved by individual employees on personal computers, were deleted. Read More

Court Allows Examination of Hard Drive and Servers

Alexander v. FBI., 186 F.R.D. 78 (D.D.C. 1998)

Former government official involved in the “Filegate” investigation testified in deposition that he deleted material from his computer when he changed positions within his department. The court noted that, despite official’s claims that he printed out relevant material before deleting it, “cause for concern should exist when an upper-level government employee completely deletes his hard drive when this hard drive may have information relevant to an on-going criminal investigation, let alone the instant case.” 186 F.R.D. at 96. Read More

Court Denies Motion for Adverse Inference and Spoliation Instructions; Motion for Restoration from Backup Tapes Denied

Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 1997 WL 33352759 (E.D. Ark. Aug. 29, 1997)

For approximately a year, the parties attempted to resolve issues concerning defendant’s electronic information. The court instituted a “spot-checking” procedure to help determine the adequacy of all parties’ production. Based on results of that procedure, plaintiff moved for an adverse inference/spoliation instruction based on defendant’s alleged destruction of email. Read More

Court Imposes Sanctions for Failure to Review Email and Preserve Data

In re Cheyenne Software, Inc., 1997 WL 714891 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 1997)

Plaintiff moved for various discovery sanctions, demonstrating, among other things, that defendants had failed to review potentially responsive email that had been previously provided to the SEC. The court ruled that defendants would be required to bear the cost of downloading and printing up to 10,000 additional pages of email responsive to key word searches requested by plaintiff. 1997 WL 714891, at *1. Read More

Court Grants Motion to Compel Production of Information on Computer Disks

Storch v. Ipco Safety Prod. Co. of Pa., 1997 WL 401589 (E.D. Pa. July 16, 1997)

Plaintiff sought production of a disk containing sales data that had been produced in hard copy form, arguing that the electronic version was needed in order to run an analysis of the information. Otherwise, she stated, she would incur between $10,000 and $20,000 in data encoding fees to properly format the information. The defendant merely argued that it was still investigating its ability to provide the information in computerized form. Read More

Court Denies Motion to Compel Discovery in order to Establish Backdating of Document

Fennell v. First Step Designs, Ltd., 83 F.3d 526 (1st Cir. 1996)

In wrongful termination suit, defendant moved for summary judgment after the close of discovery. Plaintiff sought to continue the motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f) and requested additional discovery. At issue was a critical document exonerating defendant, which plaintiff claimed had been fabricated or backdated. Read More

Court Allows Expedited Discovery, Issues Site Inspection Order, and Sanctions Defendant for Deletion of Files

Gates Rubber Co. v. Bando Chem. Ind., Ltd., 167 F.R.D. 90 (D. Colo. 1996)

Based on evidence obtained during discovery that defendant had destroyed computer files, plaintiff was granted expedited discovery and a site inspection order for the purpose of locating and copying materials, including all computer records, that it wished to preserve. However, plaintiff’s computer technicians lost or failed to recapture important information because of an inadequate effort. Read More

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