Spoliation Alone Inadequate to Allow a Party That Has Produced No Evidence to Survive Summary Judgment

From Unique Indus., Inc. v. Alberta Ltd., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15884 (D.D.C. Feb. 17, 2011):

The plaintiff ... argues that the defendant should not be granted summary judgment because Sharma's patent agent, Seaby, failed to maintain the original drawings that Sharma allegedly sent to Seaby in connection with the patents at issue.... Indeed, the spoliation of evidence can, in certain circumstances, can give rise to an adverse inference against the party that failed to maintain the evidence. See Bolger v. Dist. of Columbia, 608 F. Supp. 2d 10, 30 (D.D.C. 2009) (citing Mazloum v. D.C. Metro. Police Dep't, 530 F. Supp. 2d 282, 291 (D.D.C. 2008)). Yet the "destruction of evidence, standing alone, is [not] enough to allow a party who has produced no evidence -- or utterly inadequate evidence --in support of a given claim to survive summary judgment on that claim." Talavera v. Fore, 648 F. Supp. 2d 118, 133-34 (D.D.C. 2009) (quoting von Muhlenbrock v. Billington, 579 F. Supp. 2d 39, 45 (D.D.C. 2008)); see also Byrnie v. Town of Cromwell, Bd. of Educ., 243 F.3d 93, 107 (2d Cir. 2001) (observing that "[i]n borderline cases, an inference of spoliation, in combination with 'some (not insubstantial) evidence' for the plaintiff's cause of action, can allow the plaintiff to survive summary judgment (citing Kronish v. United States, 150 F.3d 112, 126 (2d Cir. 1998)).

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