Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Dismissal Too Draconian for Evidence Spoliation

Academic journal article Defense Counsel Journal

Dismissal Too Draconian for Evidence Spoliation

Article excerpt

Dismissing a products liability case because the defendant destroyed and disposed of evidence that could have supported the defendants' theory of the case was too harsh a sanction, the Second Circuit held in West v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 1999 WL 65629, February 12.

The plaintiff, who ran an auto repair shop, was injured when a 16-inch tire exploded as he was attempting to mount it on a 16.5-inch rim and, as the defendants claimed, overinflated it. He already had mounted another of the same-sized tires on the same-sized rim. The spoliation occurred when the plaintiff sold his tire-mounting machine and the air compressor, and his attorneys deflated the tire that had been mounted successfully.

The district court granted partial summary judgment to the defendants on the punitive damages claims (973 F.Supp. 385 (1997)) and later dismissed the complaint in its entirety as a sanction for the spoliation of evidence. 1998 WL 60942 (S.D. N.Y., not reported in F. …

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