This past spring, Magistrate Judge Tony Leung issued a decision, Paisley Park Enter., Inc. v. Boxill, No. 17-cv-1212 (WMW/TNL),
2019 WL 1036058 (D. Minn. 2019) granting the Plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions for the spoliation of evidence. The estate of Prince brought a copyright infringement against a sound engineer who worked for the late signer.
The Defendants not only failed to disable the autodelete option on the cell phones of custodians containing relevant text messages but also intentionally wiped the content of the phones after they realized that litigation might arise.
Judge Leung fined the Defendants $10,000 but declined to issue an adverse inference instruction. “The Court believes that Plaintiffs’ request for an order presuming the evidence destroyed was unfavorable to the RMA Defendants and/or for an adverse inference instruction may well be justified. But given the fact that discovery is still on-going, the record is not yet closed, and the case is still some time from trial, the Court believes it more appropriate to defer consideration of those sanctions to a later date, closer to trial.”. Id. at 7.