A key aspect of some tort claims involves preserving evidence. There are rules regarding how parties must go about maintaining records or locations that are important to the case. When a party destroys or alters this evidence, the other party can seek relief from the court in order to ensure that any proceeding litigation is fair to both sides.
In a recent case, an auto company purchased a commercial property that included a body shop on the premises, with auto repair, paint, and bodywork capabilities. The buyer also created a company to run the auto repair shop. A commercial property company entered into a lease with the buyer for the body shop and had a paint booth created. It hired another company to operate the paint booth equipment once it was finished. Soon thereafter, the auto shop suffered a fire that rendered it a total loss.
The buyer sued the seller, the paint booth operation company and other individuals, alleging that they acted negligently and wantonly in creating the fire that destroyed the facility. The paint booth operator alleged that the buyer decided to have the remains of the auto repair shop and equipment destroyed following the fire. It argued that this destroyed key evidence in the case regarding the allegations from the buyer that it was responsible for the fire and that it should have been given notice that the demolition was imminent so that it could have inspected the premises with experts to help build its defense. The paint booth company moved for summary judgment on these grounds.