Court Grants Partially Grants Spoliation Sanctions for Destroyed Video Footage

27 Jun 2018

In Mizzoni v. Allison (Case No. 3-15-cv-00313-MMD-VPC.) (United States District Court, D. Nevada. May 14, 2018) the United States District Court for the District of Nevada decided on the Plaintiff’s motion for spoliation sanctions against the Defendant.

Joseph Mizzoni, the Plaintiff, is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections. Multiple Nevada Department of Corrections officers are named as defendants in the case. The Plaintiff alleges violations under the First Amendment and Eighth Amendment. According to the Plaintiff, he was involved in a physical altercation with one of the correctional officers during a cell search.

The Plaintiff was allegedly ordered to put his hands on the wall by the correctional officer and complied with the order. At this point, the Plaintiff alleges he was forcefully wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. The Plaintiff argues that inmates were present during the altercation and that a video camera in the Unit 5 cell block would have captured the incident. After the incident on the cell block, the officers allegedly dragged the Plaintiff out of view of the cameras and beat him until he lost consciousness. According to the Plaintiff, one of the officers took photographs and video footage of the incident.

The Plaintiff requested all video footage and still photographs related to the incident. However, because he never received the footage, he filed a motion for spoliation sanctions against the defendants. During a hearing, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation to impose sanctions on the defendants for deleted footage from the Unit 5 camera. The Magistrate Judge did not issue sanctions for any supposed handheld footage because it never existed. The Plaintiff did not establish that the defendants had a duty to preserve footage from Units 4, 7 and 8, so the Court did not impose sanctions.

The Plaintiff’s spoliation motion is granted in part and denied in part.