Court Imposes Sanctions for Manipulation of Metadata ( Texas)

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T & E Inv. v. Faulkner, 2014 WL 550596 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 12, 2014).

In this case, the plaintiffs sought sanctions for the defendant allegedly manipulating metadata to try to conceal the use of an unproduced computer. The plaintiffs filed a successful motion to compel computers used by the defendant in a specific time period for examination, and a third party computer forensic expert found evidence that the defendant created a new profile on the computer, copied data onto it, and used a bulk file changer in an attempt to make it look like he primarily used the computer he had produced. The forensic expert testified that he believed the defendant did this to try and hide the existence of a computer that had not been produced. The Magistrate Judge agreed with the forensic expert’s report and testimony, and issued spoliation sanctions in the form of an adverse inference and a monetary sanction of $27,500. The defendant filed an objection to these sanctions, arguing the court exceeded its scope, but the District Court ruled that the use of the bulk file changer to try and hide a failure to produce demonstrated a clear act of bad faith and upheld the sanctions.

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