Maryland court levies spoliation sanction in eDiscovery case
A Maryland federal magistrate court recently levied a fine of $1.05 million for spoliation, the withholding or destruction of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding, in a case involving alleged patent and copyright violations.
According to the judge, the plaintiff incurred costs of discovery “that would not have been undertaken but for defendants’ spoliation, as well as the briefings and hearings regarding plaintiff’s motion for sanctions.”
If anything, the case highlights the need for companies to deploy robust information management systems that archive and maintain electronically stored information that may be pertinent in litigation.
In the Maryland case, the court ruled the defendants failed to comply with numerous court orders to preserve and produce electronically stored information. The incident also “unnecessarily but voraciously consumed the court’s time and resources," according to the ruling.
Spoliation continues to be an issue in eDiscovery cases, judging by the results of the analysis of 84 cases from 2010. According to the report, 33 of the cases addressed sanctions, with fines being levied in 23. Forty-nine percent of sanctions involved preservation and spoliation issues stemming from poor information management.