Electronic Spoliation — Purpose and Limitations of Rule 37(e)

From Tech. Sales Assoc’s, Inc. v. Ohio Star Forge Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22431 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 19, 2009):

Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(e) states as follows:

(e) Failure to Produce Electronically Stored Information. Absent exceptional circumstances, a court may not impose sanctions under these rules on a party for failing to provide electronically stored information lost as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system.

This rule is intended to protect a party from sanctions where the routine operation of a computer system inadvertently overwrites potentially relevant evidence, not when the party intentionally deletes electronic evidence…. Moreover, TSA is seeking sanctions under the court's inherent authority which is appropriate. The authority to impose sanctions for spoliated evidence arises not from substantive law but, rather, "from a court's inherent power to control the judicial process." Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 45-46 (1991).

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