Victor Stanley v. Creative Pipe: New Breakthrough Opinion Sheds Light on Serious Dangers of Destroying Electronic Evidence

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A Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court in Maryland imposed heavy sanctions on a litigant last week after finding he had intentionally destroyed electronic evidence in defiance of repeated orders not to do so. In an 89-page attack, Judge Paul Grimm held Mark Pappas – the President of Creative Pipe, Inc. – liable for civil contempt, and ordered that he be placed in prison for up to two years unless he pays plaintiff’s costs and fees associated with claims for spoliation of evidence.

In Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc., plaintiff Victor Stanley sued Creative Pipe and Pappas on claims of patent infringement, copyright infringement, and unfair competition, alleging that several designs had been stolen off its web site. Then the discovery infractions began. In 2008, already more than a year into the litigation, Judge Grimm issued an opinion holding that the defendants had waived the attorney-client and work-product protections after they inadvertently produced more than 150 electronically-stored documents during initial discovery.

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