Practical Law Glossary Item 4-501-6616 (Approx. 3 pages)
The destruction or alteration of evidence resulting from a party's failure to preserve evidence relevant to a litigation or investigation.
Litigants may face severe sanctions for intentionally destroying paper documents and electronically stored information (ESI) that may be relevant to a lawsuit or government investigation after the party's duty to preserve is triggered. The court may sanction a spoliating party by:
Fining the party.
Issuing a contempt citation.
Permitting an adverse inference jury instruction.
Striking the party's pleadings in whole or in part.
Prohibiting the party from introducing certain evidence.