No First-Party Cause of Action for Spoliation under Michigan Law — Limitations of Dissenting Opinions under Erie

Appalachian Railcar Servs., Inc. v. Boatright Enters., Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23940 (E.D. Mich. March 25, 2008) holds that there is no independent cause of action for spoliation against a party (that, of course, does not preclude sanctions). In urging the opposite result, the plaintiff relied on a dissenting opinion in an intermediate appellate court decision that urged recognition of such a cause of action. Held: “Even assuming arguendo that the [intermediate appellate court] dissent had the better argument, a dissenting opinion by definition cannot serve as a basis for predicting that the Michigan Supreme Court would adopt the rule urged unsuccessfully by that dissent.”

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