Destruction of Evidence

News & Analysis as of

Effort to Hide Facebook Evidence by Deactivating Account Ends Badly for Louisiana Man

As social media has become ubiquitous, courts are wrestling with more discovery disputes involving social media accounts. In a recent case, Crowe v. Marquette Transportation Co. Gulf-Inland, LLC, the plaintiff...more

Court Decides Sarbanes-Oxley Is Intended for a Different Kettle of Fish The Fish Tale and the U.S. Supreme Court: Part II

By a surprisingly narrow margin, the U.S. Supreme Court recently spared future fishermen from facing up to 20 years in prison for destroying their catch. The case, Yates v. United States of America, involved the curious tale...more

A Colorful Supreme Court Case Revives the Rule of Lenity

Last month, the Supreme Court’s decision in Yates v. United States provided much fodder for pun-filled headlines about fishing. The case involved the government’s attempt to stretch the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which originally...more

Supreme Court Limits Scope of SOX Anti-Shredding Provision

The US Supreme Court recently reversed the conviction of a commercial fisherman, John L. Yates, accused of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1519, also known as the anti-shredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), holding that...more

U.S. Supreme Court Finds That SOX’s Anti-Shredding Provision Does Not Apply To Fish

When one thinks of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)—a law created to restore trust in the financial markets following the collapse of Enron—red grouper is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Nevertheless, the...more

SCOTUS Narrows SOX Obstruction Statute

In its recent ruling in Yates v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a conviction under Sarbanes-Oxley’s “anti-shredding” statute, holding that it covers documents, records and only “tangible objects” similar to...more

Corporate and Financial Weekly Digest - Volume X, Issue 9

In this issue: - Meeting of the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies - Financial Action Task Force Publishes Updated List of Deficient Jurisdictions - CFTC to Host Roundtable on...more

Yates v. United States: Supreme Court Reins in Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s “Anti-Shredding” Provision

Action Item: The Supreme Court’s decision in Yates v. United States will significantly impact how in-house counsel, outside counsel, and compliance officers alike should advise their clients with respect to evidence...more

SOX, the Destruction of Evidence And Dr. Seuss: Is a Fish A Tangible Object?

Section 1519 was passed as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the wake of Enron’s massive accounting fraud. The section was designed to fill a gap in the law by preventing corporate document-shredding to conceal evidence of...more

SCOTUS Rules No Felony for Throwing the Little Ones Overboard

The case, Yates v. United States, arose from a offshore inspection of a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. During the inspection, a federal agent found that the ship’s catch contained undersized red grouper, in...more

Merely Discarding Information Won’t Violate Florida’s Tampering Statute

On December 3, 2014, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal overturned a police detective’s conviction for deleting a video from his work cellular telephone. The video recorded a witness making statements about a case, but...more

High Court Divided: Is A Fish A Tangible Object?

Gulf fisherman John Yates was cited by a federally-deputized Florida Fish & Wildlife officer for having caught a few red grouper that were about an inch under the 20” minimum limit at the time (they’d have been legal under...more

Supreme Court Rejects the Government’s “Fishy” Interpretation of Sarbanes-Oxley Obstruction Statute

On February 25, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Yates v. United States.1 This case involved the interpretation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519, a statute that was added as part of the...more

Supreme Court Decides Yates v. United States

On February 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Yates v. United States, No. 13-7451, holding that fish are not “tangible objects” within the meaning of 18 U. S. C. §1519, a federal law providing that a person who...more

Supreme Court Interprets Sarbanes-Oxley Evidence Destruction Provisions

We now know that Sarbanes-Oxley does not apply to fish . . . While conducting an offshore inspection of a commercial fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal agent found that the ship’s catch contained...more

Deleted E-Mails? What Happens to the CCJEF Litigation Now?

This one should be pretty obvious, but for the record, it’s never a good idea to destroy potential evidence. For better or worse, however, it looks like the possible destruction of evidence will now be the focal point...more

The Fish Tale and the Supreme Court: How Applying Sarbanes-Oxley to Missing Grouper Has Raised Questions of Overcriminalization

The Issues - On November 5, 2014, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States of America. In layman's terms, the issue is whether an Enron-era antishredding provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was...more

Though Destruction of Evidence was Egregious, Lesser Sanctions Ordered (New York)

Hawley v. Mphasis Corp., 2014 WL 3610946 (S.D.N.Y. July 22, 2014). In this employment discrimination case, the plaintiff moved for sanctions due to defendant’s alleged discovery violations. The plaintiff claimed that...more

Sarbanes-Oxley Casts a Wide Net, Literally

Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002 to deal with the accounting scandals that resulted in the downfall of the likes of Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, Arthur Andersen, and others. In its October Term 2014, the Supreme Court will...more

Status Updates - August 2014 #2

..May a lawyer ethically instruct a client to delete potentially damaging information from a client’s Facebook page? According to a new ethics opinion from the Philadelphia Bar Association, yes, so long as the information is...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules on Spoliation Instructions

The court holds that, with rare exception, intent is required for spoliation instructions in Texas. On July 3, the Texas Supreme Court issued its ruling in Brookshire Brothers, Ltd. v. Aldridge, holding, with a narrow...more

Texas Supreme Court Clarifies Spoliation Under Texas Law

After years of awaiting clarity from the Supreme Court of Texas regarding spoliation under Texas law, the Supreme Court issued a significant decision that will shift how Texas state courts handle civil jury instructions...more

Halifax Health Gets In More Hot Water

You probably didn’t think Florida’s Halifax Health could make its situation any worse. After all, only two months ago Halifax agreed to pay $85 million to settle just the first half of a Medicare fraud case. That still...more

Thorny Issues to Consider Before Buying Into BYOD

A salesperson and her boss are attending a conference at a hotel. Their goals are twofold: learning the latest industry trends and mingling with clients to generate business. After the sessions end, they invite two potential...more

The Long Arm of E-Discovery Stretches Overseas

Earlier this year, Kazuaki Fujitani, the general manager of a Japanese company’s sales division, pled guilty to obstruction of justice for destroying numerous e-mails and other documents in a federal investigation by the...more

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