Sanctions for Spoliation in Federal Court

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled that federal law applies to determination what sanctions should be available for relief of spoiled evidence in federal question cases.  The en banc decision reversed  precedent and brought the circuit in line with other appellate courts.

An excerpt:  "Because failures to produce relevant evidence fall ‘along a continuum of fault – ranging from innocence through the degrees of negligence to intentionality,’ the severity of a sanction may, depending on the circumstances of the case, correspond to the party’s fault. Thus, a district court could impose many different kinds of sanctions for spoliated evidence, including dismissing a case, granting summary judgment, or instructing a jury that it may infer a fact based on lost or destroyed evidence."  [Citations omitted.]

Read Adkins v. Wolever, No. 07-1421 (6th Cir. Feb. 4, 2009) here.