Spoliation of Evidence Sanction Requires Notice of ‚Äúcontemplated or pending litigation‚ÄĚ

With turmoil in the area of the spoliation of evidence field, given a series of “bad fact” appeals, the Supreme Court of Georgia granted certiorari to consider the standard under which spoliation sanctions could be initiated. Plaintiff Silman was seriously injured when a deck on a rental house owned by the Defendant collapsed. In due course, within a period of weeks, the debris was cleaned up and the deck rebuilt, as was a requirement of the landlord tenant law. Silman alleged spoliation of the physical evidence. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s decisions and specifically held that spoliation can only occur after the owner of the property is on notice of “contemplated or pending litigation." Otherwise, the property owner has the right, and the duty, to deal with its property as it deems appropriate.

Silman v. Associates Bellemeade, 286 Ga. 27 (2009)

Counsel for Appellees: Steve Cotter and Pamela Lee

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