Northern District of California Denies Motion in Limine to Exclude Spoliation Evidence at Trial
In the trademark infringement case Internmatch, Inc. v. Nxtbgthing, LLC, et. al., Case No. 14-05438 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 28, 2016), Plaintiff filed a motion for terminating sanctions against Defendants, alleging that Defendants intentionally destroyed electronic versions of documents that demonstrated their alleged use of the disputed trademark. The spoliation motion included documents from the individual defendant’s insurer and an expert report. The court granted the spoliation motion and ordered an adverse inference instruction against Defendants. Before trial, Defendants filed a motion in limine to exclude the insurance documents and the expert testimony.
The court denied both of Defendants’ motions in limine. The insurance documents related to a claim made by the individual defendant when a power surge destroyed his electronic devices on which he had stored relevant evidence. Plaintiff subpoenaed the insurance records, and Defendants objected based upon procedural defects as well as Pennsylvania’s privacy laws. The court disagreed on all counts, stating that Defendants could have filed a motion to quash the subpoena but did not, and also finding that the insurance company did not fall under the privacy statute’s purview.
Plaintiff’s expert testimony related to the rarity of power surges and the lack of power outages in Philadelphia on the day in question. Defendants moved to exclude the report based on the expert’s reliability because he did not consider certain materials that Defendants’ expert considered. The court discredited Defendant’s assertions as nothing more than a disagreement with the expert’s conclusions, not an indication of unreliability, and denied Defendant’s motion to exclude the report.