Thursday, August 23, 2012

Samsung Avoids Adverse Jury Instruction for Spoliation of Evidence

The court granted defendants' motion for relief from the magistrate judge's order denying as untimely defendant's motion for a mirror spoliation adverse inference instruction against plaintiff. However, the court granted the parties' request to forego identical adverse instructions against both sides. "To this Court’s knowledge, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 51(a)(1), a party’s request for a jury instruction is timely if made '[a]t the close of the evidence or at any earlier reasonable time that the court orders.' Thus, [defendants'] motion appears to be timely. . . . By failing to do as little as issue a litigation hold notice to any employees for eight months after its preservation duty arose, and by further delaying issuance of litigation hold notices to several key custodians, the Court finds that [plaintiff] acted with not just simple negligence but rather conscious disregard of its duty to preserve. . . . Accordingly, in light of the foregoing, the Court grants [defendant’s] motion for a mirror adverse inference instruction against [plaintiff]. . . . However, the parties indicated at the . . . hearing that if the Court decided to issue identical adverse inference instructions against both parties, they prefer that neither adverse inference instruction be given. Accordingly, the Court will not give either jury instruction."

Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et. al., 5-11-cv-01846 (CAND August 21, 2012, Order) (Koh, J.).

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