FTC v. Vyera Pharms., LLC (S.D.N.Y. June 1, 2021)
Key Insight: Vyera’s company policy was to issue employees iPhones that were backed up through iCloud but one executive, Mithani, whose conduct was central to the government’s antitrust claims, had requested and received a Blackberry as his company phone, which had no systemic back up of text communications. Despite being under an obligation to preserve evidence, the executive confirmed deleting texts on his work and personal mobile phones before and after receiving a hold notice from Vyera, and wiped his work phone upon leaving the company. A forensic expert confirmed no data could be retrieved or restored from the Blackberry. The court concluded Vyera’s conduct constituted spoliation and warranted sanctions as plaintiffs were prejudiced by Vyera’s conduct and the former executive acted intentionally to deprive plaintiffs of discoverable information. The court declined to adopt an adverse inference sanction and instead adopted Vyera’s proposed sanction that it be precluded from calling the former employee to testify in its defense or introducing into evidence documents that he authored.
Nature of Case: Antitrust
Electronic Data Involved: Text messages