Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Spoliation — Adverse-Inference Standards — Sixth Circuit

From Alexander v. Del Monte Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139465 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 11, 2011):

An adverse inference instruction is appropriate where a party knew that the evidence was relevant to some issue at trial and his culpable conduct resulted in its destruction. Beaven v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 622 F.3d 540, 553 (6th Cir. 2010). The key is the alleged spoliator's mental state regarding any obligation to preserve evidence and the subsequent destruction. Id. The culpable state of mind factor is satisfied where evidence was destroyed negligently, even without intent to breach a duty to preserve it. Id. at 554. A party is obligated to preserve evidence that he should have known may be relevant to future litigation, but where there was no notice of pending litigation, destruction of evidence does not necessarily indicate intent. Id. at 553.

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