E-Discovery » Why A Spoliation Ruling Didn’t Block A Million Verdict

Why A Spoliation Ruling Didn’t Block A $25 Million Verdict

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December 15, 2016

In a case in the Eastern District of Virginia, the court allowed a jury’s findings to stand, denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial despite a showing that the plaintiff had destroyed evidence. The defendant, internet service provider Cox Communications Inc., stood accused by BMG Rights Management LLC, a music publishing company, of facilitating the uploading and downloading of copyrighted music. The court found there had been spoliation of evidence by the plaintiff, but said it would allow but not require the evidence destruction to be considered by the jury. After the jury awarded BMG $25 million in damages, Cox moved for a new trial on the grounds the jury instruction had been “anemic,” given the circumstances. The court declined, in part on the grounds that there had been a “separate finding of Cox’s own failure to preserve relevant evidence in this lawsuit.” One takeaway, says this post from Zapproved: “When asking for harsh sanctions, parties should bear in mind the doctrine of clean hands.”

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