When you are involved in a business dispute that may soon be going to trial, it is essential to learn about the concept of spoliation of evidence to understand how you could end up facing additional business litigation. Even when you are the plaintiff in a business dispute such as a breach of contract claim, the defense may raise the issue of spoliation of evidence and might attempt to file a counterclaim or could file a separate lawsuit against you. You should always have an experienced Santa Fe business litigation lawyer on your side to ensure that you do not take any actions during your business dispute that could affect your ability to win your case or that could open you up to future liability, as well as to ensure that the other party does not take any actions that could harm your case or limit your ability to obtain the information you need to support your claim.
Our Santa Fe business litigation attorneys want to discuss spoliation of evidence with you and how to avoid spoliation of evidence in your business dispute—both in terms of your own potential liability and in preserving your ability to examine evidence held by the defendant.
What is Spoliation of Evidence?
The term ‘spoliation of evidence’ is typically used in civil litigation to refer to a situation in which one side has intentionally or negligently destroyed evidence that could be relevant to the dispute. Generally, New Mexico law says that the intentional destruction of evidence in a case can give rise to a new cause of action, while any negligent or accidental destruction of evidence is more likely to result in court sanctions or a specific instruction to the jury.
How to Avoid Spoliation of Evidence in Your Business Litigation Case
Spoliation of evidence can affect a plaintiff in a business litigation case in a couple of different ways; it can open that plaintiff up to potential sanctions or liability if the defense argues that the plaintiff has engaged in actions that constitute the spoliation of evidence, or it can harm the plaintiff’s case if the defendant destroys evidence that the plaintiff would have been able to obtain as necessary evidence to support their claim.
How can you avoid spoliation of evidence? Here are some general tips:
- Preserve any and all documents that are relevant to the case, including all electronic documents and communications (such as emails, text messages, etc.);
- Work with your attorney to determine all sources of evidence, and ensure that you do not accidentally erase or delete relevant information; and
- Immediately begin working with your attorney on materials in anticipation of discovery, such as requests for production of documents.
Contact Our Santa Fe Business Litigation Lawyers for Assistance
If you are facing a business dispute or need assistance with your case, an experienced New Mexico business litigation attorney at our firm can begin working with you today on your case. Contact Slate Stern Law to learn more about our business litigation practice and the ways in which we can work toward winning your case.