Party Who Kept Copy Cannot Prevail on Spoliation Claim Against Opponent Who Destroyed Original

From Bell v. Rotwein, 535 F.Supp.2d 137 (D.D.C. 2008):

Defendant finally alleges that plaintiff has failed to state a claim for either spoliation or conversion.... Both of these claims are rooted in plaintiff's allegation that defendant took possession of and destroyed the original assignment document. Both claims fail because plaintiff has a photocopy of the document that may be admissible in litigation. See Fed. R. Evid. 1004. Spoliation requires a showing that the loss or destruction of the document significantly impairs the plaintiff's ability to prove his claim. See Holmes v. Amerex Rent-A-Car, 336 U.S. App. D.C. 359, 180 F.3d 294, 297 (D.C. Cir. 1999). Because plaintiff has a photocopy, he cannot make this showing. Nor can he make out a claim for conversion because he retains a copy of the document and therefore has "not [been] deprived of the beneficial use of the information." Furash & Co., Inc. v. McClave, 130 F. Supp. 2d 48, 58 (D.D.C. 2001) (citing Pearson v. Dodd, 133 U.S. App. D.C. 279, 410 F.2d 701, 706 (D.C. Cir. 1969)). Defendant's motion to dismiss will therefore be granted as to the spoliation and conversion claims.

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