• Cases on Spoliation




    Case Name: McDougall v. Black & Decker Canada, Inc.
    Case Citation: 2008 ABCA 353
    Decision Date: October 2008  
    Court: Court of Appeal of Alberta
    Link(s) to Case:

    Abstract: In January 2004, the plaintiffs lost their house to a fire and the fire department determined it resulted from either improperly secured smoking materials or a Black & Decker cordless electronic drill. The plaintiffs sued Black & Decker. The plaintiffs hired an insurance investigator to inspect the fire and he confiscated the drill. By the time the lawsuit began, the house had been raised and parts of the drill had gone missing. Black & Decker filed to have the suit dismissed on the basis of spoliation since they could properly investigate the fire scene or the drill. A chambers judge granted this motion but the plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeal overturned the chambers judge’s decision. Foremost, Black & Decker did not request the drill until 2006, over two years after the incident, nor did the company take advantage of being granted access to the fire scene as early as 2004. Furthermore, though Black & Decker said parts of the drill had gone missing, it was unclear which parts no longer existed and if their absence resulted from their intentional destruction. The Court of Appeal ruled that Black & Decker should be granted access to the plaintiff’s insurance investigator as well as any photographs he took of the fire scene and the drill. Following an examination of the available evidence, the court left issue of spoliation to be determined at trial.

    Keywords: destruction of evidence, preservation of evidence, spoliation

    Page last updated: July 10, 2010


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