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Case Blurb: Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.; Elements for Spoliation as a Cause of Action in Ohio

Posted by rjbiii on July 19, 2008

In Ohio, the elements of a spoliation claim [i.e., a claim for interference with or destruction of evidence] are:
(1) pending or probable litigation involving the plaintiff, (2) knowledge on the part of defendant that litigation exists or is probable, (3) willful destruction of evidence by defendant designed to disrupt the plaintiff’s case, (4) disruption of the plaintiff’s case, and (5) damages proximately caused by the defendant’s acts.

Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc. v. Chrysler Motors Co., LLC, 2008 WL 2704859 (N.D. Ohio July 7, 2008 )

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Posted in 6th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Judge James G. Carr, N.D. Ohio, Spoliation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.; Failure to Implement Lit Hold not an element of Ohio Spoliation Cause of Action

Posted by rjbiii on July 19, 2008

First, I agree with Chrysler that failure to implement a litigation hold is not an element of a spoliation claim. Nor, in my view, would such implementation be an affirmative defense to such a claim. While whether a party implemented or failed to implement an implementation hold, or whether its directive to its employees was comprehensive and sufficient might be evidence of culpable intent, no liability results simply from either failure to implement a litigation hold or defects in its scope and substance.

In this case, to be sure, a jury could find that no litigation hold was in place for the year between Chrysler’s initial awareness of possible litigation and filing of this suit. But that, alone, is not sufficient to impose liability on Chrysler for spoliation of evidence. A jury might also conclude, if it credited Schmidt’s version of the insufficiency, that the litigation hold, whatever it was, was not sufficiently specific and comprehensive to ensure retrieval and retention of pertinent data. But on the basis of the present record, that’s a decision for the jury, and not for me to make by granting Schmidt’s motion for summary judgment.

Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc. v. Chrysler Motors Co., LLC, 2008 WL 2704859 (N.D. Ohio July 7, 2008 )

Posted in 6th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Judge James G. Carr, N.D. Ohio, Ohio, Spoliation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »