No New Trial Despite Evidence of Potential Email Spoliation in FLSA Case
In Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case Jenkins v. Anton et. al., Case No. 15-00283 (M.D. Fl., June 8, 2017), the court entered judgment in favor of Defendants, finding that Plaintiff had not proved that Defendant violated overtime laws. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion to Amend Judgment or for New Trial pursuant to FRCP 59, basing her Motion in part upon newly discovered evidence, including an email Plaintiff received in the mail from an anonymous source that purported to show Defendant Anton instructing his IT team to delete all emails from 2014 and earlier (a time period relevant to the case).
Plaintiff argued that if she had obtained this email earlier, she could have used it as evidence; the court surmised that she would have used it to either impeach Anton or to obtain an adverse inference due to spoliation. The court, however, found that impeachment evidence is not grounds for a new trial, and further, even if email spoliation had been proven, there was no reason to believe the trial would have a different outcome. The issue at trial was whether Plaintiff had worked overtime and not been paid. Plaintiff never alleged that there were emails proving that she worked overtime, only that she sent emails after normal business hours. The court knew at trial that such emails might have existed, and even so, ruled in favor of Defendants, finding significant that Plaintiffs’ hours were flexible and that the employees who replaced Plaintiff testified that they “never even came close” to working overtime.
Accordingly, the court denied Plaintiff’s motion in all respects.