Judges have been getting angrier and angrier over what seems to be a non-stop escalation of spoliation and the reckless handling of electronic evidence. In the recent copyright infringement lawsuit filed by The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Judge Florence-Marie Cooper (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California) minced no words as she granted a the MPAA a default judgment against the operators of the TorrentSpy file sharing website. Cooper found that the defendants had destroyed server logs, user IP addresses and other information that another judge had ordered them to maintain.
Clearly incensed, Cooper called the defendants’ conduct “obstreperous” and wrote “They have engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence and have provided false testimony under oath in an effort to hide evidence of such destruction.” Ouch. She went on to say that “A substantial number of items of evidence have been destroyed . . . Defendants were on notice that this information would be of importance in this case.” Double ouch.
Though the decision is expected to be appealed, this is yet another case in a long year of judges taking defendants guilty of ESI spoliation to the judicial woodshed.
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