Tag: FRCP 37(e) Safe Harbor (prior to Dec. 1, 2015)

1
D.O.H. v. Lake Cent. Sch. Corp., No. 2:11?cv?430, 2015 WL 736419 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 20, 2015)
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Ralser v. Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., No. 13-2799, 2015 WL 5016351 (E.D. La. Aug. 21, 2015)
3
Nieman v. Hale, No. 3:12-cv-2433-L-BN, 2014 WL 1577814 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 21, 2014)
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Savage v. City of Lewisburg, No. 1:10?0120, 2014 WL 6827329 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 3, 2014 )
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EEOC v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 295 F.R.D. 166 (S.D. Ohio 2013)
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Dunbar v. Google, Inc., No. C 12-330, 2013 WL 1346597 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 2, 2013)
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Dombrowski v. Lumpkin Cnty., No. 2:11-CV-276-RWS-JCF, 2013 WL 2099137 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 21, 2013)
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Beck v. Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc., No. 04-1391(JDB), 2012 WL 10817176 (D.D.C. Sep. 25, 2012)
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Borwick v. T-Mobil West Corp., No. 11-cv-01683-LTB-MEH, 2012 WL 3984745 (D. Colo. Sept. 11, 2012)
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FTC v. Lights of America, Inc., No. SACV 10-1333 (JVS) (MLGx), 2012 WL 695008 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2012)

D.O.H. v. Lake Cent. Sch. Corp., No. 2:11?cv?430, 2015 WL 736419 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 20, 2015)

Key Insight: Finding plaintiff responsible for his prior counsel?s deficient Facebook production, saying he ?voluntarily chose his prior counsel and cannot avoid the consequences for his attorney?s discovery failures? and also responsible for his current counsel?s deficient Twitter production, district court granted Motion for Sanctions filed by defendants in part and ordered plaintiff to produce the entirety of his Twitter profile with redactions for privilege and relevance and to produce a log for any social networking information withheld and to pay the reasonable expenses and attorney?s fees associate with the discovery dispute.

Nature of Case: Civil Rights

Electronic Data Involved: Social media postings

Ralser v. Winn Dixie Stores, Inc., No. 13-2799, 2015 WL 5016351 (E.D. La. Aug. 21, 2015)

Key Insight: Where Defendant was unable to produce the original version of a particularly relevant document in native format and claimed the loss resulted from the automatic deletion of the original version pursuant to the company?s document retention policy, the court declined to impose sanctions reasoning that a later version of the document was provided to Defendant?s legal department, that it was ?not obvious? that prior versions needed to be preserved and that by the time Plaintiff filed his lawsuit following termination, a year had passed and the document would have been destroyed under the retention policy; the court further reasoned:? While this destruction still occurred during the litigation hold, the fact that Winn Dixie?s normal retention policy called for the document?s destruction undermines a finding of bad faith because Winn?Dixie?s failure to adjust the document retention system to comply with the litigation hold signified an omission, and not a commission. In other words, Winn?Dixie?s failure to retain the electronic document was not the result of a directed action to delete the document but rather a failure to turn off the automatic deletion mechanism. Such action, at best, amounts to negligence and does not rise to the level of bad faith.?

Nature of Case: Employment litigation

Electronic Data Involved: Original version of relevant ESI

Nieman v. Hale, No. 3:12-cv-2433-L-BN, 2014 WL 1577814 (N.D. Tex. Apr. 21, 2014)

Key Insight: Finding that plaintiff failed to meet the high burden of proof required to justify spoliation sanctions under Rule 37 and/or the court’s inherent powers, as plaintiff’s briefing was “entirely devoid of evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that would establish the bad faith required,” court denied plaintiff’s motion for sanctions and further noted that Rule 37(e) protected defendants from sanctions to the extent that the entries allegedly missing from defendants’ privilege log resulted from a server crash

Nature of Case: Retaliation claims

Electronic Data Involved: Email

Savage v. City of Lewisburg, No. 1:10?0120, 2014 WL 6827329 (M.D. Tenn. Dec. 3, 2014 )

Key Insight: District court said that where Defendant was under a duty to preserve audio recordings and should have taken steps to prevent their destruction; and where Defendant refused to produce payroll and promotion data ordered by the court; and where Defendant had not produced documents ordered by the court; Plaintiff would be permitted to argue adverse inferences to the jury and file an affidavit of reasonable costs and attorneys? fees in bringing its sanctions motion.

Nature of Case: Employment Discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Audio recordings, payroll and promotion data, documents

EEOC v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., 295 F.R.D. 166 (S.D. Ohio 2013)

Key Insight: Defendant’s failure to establish a litigation hold and resulting loss of relevant data through routine purge was inexcusable and presented exceptional circumstances that removed such conduct from the protections provided by Rule 37(c); as sanction, court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment which turned in part on skill login data, and would give permissive adverse inference instruction regarding the destroyed evidence at trial

Nature of Case: Sex discrimination claims

Electronic Data Involved: Skill login data

Dombrowski v. Lumpkin Cnty., No. 2:11-CV-276-RWS-JCF, 2013 WL 2099137 (N.D. Ga. Mar. 21, 2013)

Key Insight: Court declined to impose adverse inference for Defendant?s alleged failure to issue a litigation hold where Plaintiff failed to establish bad faith and failed to establish that ?critical or crucial evidence was destroyed??addressing the presence of bad faith, court noted that Defendants? email practices, i.e., that the individual defendant frequently deleted his emails and that once placed in the trash, they were automatically deleted after two weeks, resulted in Plaintiff?s claims gaining ?little traction? in light of Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(e); court declined to impose adverse inference for the alleged destruction of ?unidentified documents? where plaintiff ?failed to carry her burden of showing bad faith? and also failed to establish that she had ?suffered prejudice as a result of the missing documents?

Nature of Case: Employment discrimination; defamation; intentional infliction of emotional distress

Electronic Data Involved: Emails, ESI

Beck v. Test Masters Educ. Servs., Inc., No. 04-1391(JDB), 2012 WL 10817176 (D.D.C. Sep. 25, 2012)

Key Insight: Defendant?s lackluster effort to retrieve e-mail after hard drives crashed constituted a conscious disregard of its preservation obligations that could fairly be described as gross negligence or recklessness, and warranted sanctions in the form of an adverse inference instruction; court declined to impose sanctions for defendant?s failure to preserve telephone recordings since there was insufficient evidence that any relevant calls were actually recorded and should have been preserved

Nature of Case: Consumer Protection Procedures Act claims

Electronic Data Involved: E-mails and telephone call recordings

Borwick v. T-Mobil West Corp., No. 11-cv-01683-LTB-MEH, 2012 WL 3984745 (D. Colo. Sept. 11, 2012)

Key Insight: Where defendant converted relevant audio files to .wav format and destroyed the originals pursuant to its document retention policy, the court declined to enter spoliation sanctions because the record did not establish bad faith reasoning (1) that defendant had provided an adequate explanation for plaintiff?s concern about gaps in the recordings, (2) that plaintiff should have requested the files in native format (which she did not) and that had she done so, defendant would have been on notice to preserve relevant files in their original format, and (3) the files were discarded pursuant to an established document retention policy; regarding bad faith, court stated, ?Only the bad faith loss or destruction of evidence will support either a judgment in favor of Plaintiff or the kind of adverse inference that Plaintiff seeks, i.e., that production of the original i360 recordings would have been unfavorable to Defendant?

Nature of Case: Employment discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Audio files converted from original format

FTC v. Lights of America, Inc., No. SACV 10-1333 (JVS) (MLGx), 2012 WL 695008 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 20, 2012)

Key Insight: Court held plaintiff was not obligated to issue a litigation hold at the beginning of its full-phase investigation or upon the issuance of a CID because litigation was not reasonably foreseeable at those times, noting that the duty to preserve attaches when litigation is probable, which means ?more than a possibility?; court declined to order sanctions related to plaintiff?s auto-delete policy where the policy called for the preservation of relevant ESI and the deletion of duplicates and indicated that even if the policy resulted in the inadvertent loss of email, there was no evidence of bad faith, and cited Rule 37(e) re: safe harbor; court declined to impose sanctions for failure to issue a litigation hold over documents not in the plaintiff?s possession or control

Nature of Case: Government investigation

Electronic Data Involved: ESI

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