In a decision likely to be one of this year's definitive rulings regarding preservation and spoliation of electronically stored information (ESI), on September 9, 2010, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grimm of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland—a well-regarded jurist on the cutting edge of ESI discovery issues—issued a ruling in Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc.,1 imposing stiff sanctions on litigants he found responsible for the deletion of substantial amounts of ESI. These sanctions, including a default judgment on liability and a conditional sentence of up to two years in prison for the principal of one of the defendants, were the result of a pattern of ESI destruction constituting what the judge termed "the single most egregious example of spoliation that I have encountered in any case that I have handled or in any case described in the legion of spoliation cases I have read in nearly fourteen years on the bench."
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