Disability Discrimination Plaintiff Denied Spoliation Sanctions for Email Accounts
In Reed v. Kindercare Learning Centers et. al., Case No. 15-5634 (W.D. Wash., Nov. 17, 2016), Plaintiff sought spoliation sanctions for email, ESI and physical evidence. Plaintiff, a childcare worker, sued Defendants for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, wrongful termination, and retaliation. Well into the discovery period, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel production of documents, which was granted by the court with limitations. When Defendants did not comply, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Sanctions and a Motion to Compel Entry Upon Land; thereafter, Defendants responded to the Motion for Sanctions and filed a Motion for Clarification or Reconsideration of the Compel order.
Plaintiff’s sanctions motion related to alleged spoliation of both physical evidence and electronically stored information. Defendants would not permit Plaintiff to enter and inspect the location where she worked for Defendants. They also failed to secure relevant email accounts prior to destruction of such accounts, as well as failure to produce “dozens” of relevant documents and failure to promptly search for email and other records – i.e., Plaintiff alleged that Defendants did not perform such search until after the sanctions motion was filed. The court granted Plaintiff’s motion with respect to entry onto the premises and granted an adverse inference instruction; however, the court denied the motion as to the failure to produce emails and other records, finding that although “Defendants could have implemented better retention policies,” Plaintiff did not make a requisite showing for spoliation sanctions for email, and Defendants did locate and produce an employee file.