E-DISCOVERY: PLAINTIFF’S DISCARDING OF LAPTOP RESULTS IN DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT AND INSTRUCTION OF ADVERSE INFERENCE AS TO PLAINTIFF’S CROSS-CLAIMS

In Kvitka v. Puffin Co. (U.S. Dist. Ct., M.D. Pa. Feb. 13, 2009), a dealer of antique dolls sued the defendants for terminating her advertising in their magazine. The defendants claimed that they had received several complaints regarding the plaintiff, as well as emails written by her disparaging other advertisers. Concluding that the plaintiff had intentionally discarded her laptop, notwithstanding a duty to preserve it for evidentiary purposes, the court dismissed the complaint and granted an adverse inference instruction on defendants’ cross-claims.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What were the court’s findings?
How did the court justify its decision to dismiss the case in view of the plaintiff’s argument that this was too harsh a decision?
What did the court determine with regard to the defendants’ cross-claims?

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