Victor Stanley: A Valuable Reference Tool Involving Harsh Sanctions for Intentional Spoliation
By Candice McPhillips and Katherine Ruffing
A recent must-read opinion in the case of Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc., authored by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm, provides an unprecedented analysis of spoliation sanctions nationwide. In Victor Stanley, the plaintiff alleged copyright infringement, unfair competition, and other causes of action arising from the defendants' alleged theft of plaintiff's product drawings used to produce a competing product. Against a background of extraordinarily egregious -- and nearly criminal -- discovery misconduct, Judge Grimm catalogues how each nefarious action by the defendants constitutes spoliation. Judge Grimm's opinion, however, is extremely important for lawyers and e-discovery professionals for its recitation of the extreme fact pattern that (hopefully) is unlikely to be oft-repeated, but for the deeply analytical manner in which Judge Grimm reached his decision. The opinion includes a detailed analysis of the various standards which have been applied by nearly all federal courts. It will serve, therefore, as a vital reference tool for the current view of the federal bench regarding analysis of e-discovery spoliation.