Tag: Sanctions

1
Europe v. Equinox Holdings, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2022)
2
Oro BRC4, LLC v. Silvertree Apartments, Nos. 2:19-cv-4907, 2:19-cv-5087 (S.D. Ohio, June 10, 2021).
3
Holloway v. County of Orange (C.D. Cal. 2021)
4
Cretacci v. Hare
5
Optronic Techs., Inc. v. Ningbo Sunny Elec. Co. (N.D. Cal. June 1, 2020)

Europe v. Equinox Holdings, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2022)

Key Insight: Plaintiff brought a motion for sanctions alleging defendants failed to preserve a key piece of evidence (the September 2019 managers’ schedule from the month when she was terminated) in her employment discrimination suit. The court concluded that defendants should have taken steps to preserve the schedule in December 2019 when plaintiff notified defendants that she intended to initiate litigation, and they failed to do so. The court noted that the harshest sanction of adverse inference was not appropriate because it did not appear by clear and convincing evidence that the failure to preserve the evidence was done in order to gain an advantage in the litigation. The court ordered that plaintiff could present to the jury that the September 2019 schedule was lost and defendants could not compare her lateness to other employees in September 2019 or argue that her co-workers’ lateness in September 2019 was less than hers.

Nature of Case: Employment Discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Business Documents

Case Summary

Oro BRC4, LLC v. Silvertree Apartments, Nos. 2:19-cv-4907, 2:19-cv-5087 (S.D. Ohio, June 10, 2021).

Key Insight: Plaintiff sought a motion for spoliation sanctions based on defendant’s failure to prepare its Rule 30(b)(6) deponent to testify on topics related to ESI preservation and collection, and for spoliation sanctions related to the failure to preserve ESI. The court granted sanctions for defendant’s failure to prepare its 30(b)(6) designee, finding: “The production of an unprepared witness is tantamount to a failure to appear, and warrants the imposition of sanctions.” Defendant offered its head of IT as the corporate designee. He received the deposition notice less than 72 hours before the deposition, spent about 6 hours preparing to testify (approximately 10 minutes per topic), did not review any documents other than his own emails, and did not speak or communicate with other employees to gather information on the topics he was supposed to testify about. The court ordered a second 30(b)(6) deposition, required defendant to pay the reasonable costs and expenses associated with attending the second deposition and fees for plaintiff’s ESI consultant to attend, and awarded fees associated with having to bring the motion to compel. On the issue of failure to preserve ESI evidence, the court concluded it was premature to address this issue until the second 30(b)(6) deposition, which would cover topics relating to defendant’s litigation hold efforts.

Nature of Case: Breach of contract

Electronic Data Involved: ESI business documents and electronic devices

Case Summary

Holloway v. County of Orange (C.D. Cal. 2021)

Key Insight: The court granted defendants’ motion for sanctions based on spoliation of evidence based on plaintiff’s deletion of his Facebook account. “Plaintiff had an obligation to preserve his Facebook account, he deleted the account with a culpable state of mind, and the account was relevant to Defendants’ claims.” The court further ordered that an adverse inference jury instruction was appropriate.

Nature of Case: Civil Rights

Electronic Data Involved: Social Media, Facebook

Case Summary

Cretacci v. Hare

Key Insight: A party must explicitly request all possible remedies it seeks. Courts will not impose unrequested sanctions even if it determines lesser sanctions were warranted. Plaintiff only requested a default judgment sanction which requires that Defendants intentionally lost or destroyed data so it could not be used in litigation. Because there was no finding of intent, a default judgment sanction could not be issued. A lesser sanction of “measures no greater than necessary to cure the prejudice” could have been imposed because Plaintiff was prejudiced by the loss of ESI and there is no intent requirement. However, no sanctions were issued because such sanctions were not requested.

Nature of Case: Civil Rights

Electronic Data Involved: Video

Case Summary

Optronic Techs., Inc. v. Ningbo Sunny Elec. Co. (N.D. Cal. June 1, 2020)

Key Insight: Sanctions were warranted because counsel failed to adequately supervise Defendant’s discovery responses. While counsel is not required to personally conduct or directly supervise a client’s discovery collection and review process, they must make a reasonable effort to ensure the client produces all response documents. It is not sufficient to only provide guidance on how to search for documents without following up on whether the guidance was followed and what steps were actually taken.

Nature of Case: Antitrust

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic Documents

Case Summary

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