In HMS Holdings Corp. et. al. v. Arendt et. al. NY Slip Op 51034(U) (July 14, 2015) (a case we previously wrote about in which the Albany County Supreme Court found that two attorney Defendants had intentionally spoliated evidence), the Plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction based upon a previous adverse inference instruction they received due to Defendants’ spoliation.
In the spoliation decision, the court found that Defendants had intentionally wiped data after a litigation hold had already gone into effect. The court awarded attorneys’ fees and a mandatory adverse inference instruction.
In considering the preliminary injunction motion, the court noted that Plaintiffs must show 1) the likelihood of success on the merits, 2) the prospect of irreparable harm if the relief is not given, and 3) the balance of the equities in favor of Plaintiffs. The court found that, given the adverse inference instruction, Plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success on most of their claims. The spoliation decision also meant that a balancing of the equities favored Plaintiffs, as the spoliation of evidence interfered with the administration of justice. But the court did not find irreparable harm because Plaintiffs had already obtained an injunction in a sister case in Texas. Accordingly, the court denied the motion but permitted Plaintiffs to renew the motion in the event it became necessary.