Whether you work in residential or commercial construction, spoliation of evidence cases are common in the industry. If you are involved in a construction defect dispute and you are required to preserve evidence, it’s critical that you understand your requirements under law. In this two-part article, the Orlando construction attorneys at Cotney Construction Law are discussing construction defense claims involving spoliation of evidence. In the first part, we educated you on what exactly spoliation of evidence cases entail. In this section, we will discuss potential penalties for infractions.
What’s the Penalty for Spoliation of Evidence?
The sanctions imposed in cases involving the spoliation of evidence can vary greatly. However, if a court deems that a construction professional destroyed evidence that impacted legal proceedings, penalties will be imposed on the party that committed the spoliation. Generally, if the contractor did not act in good faith when causing a spoliation, the penalty issued will be more severe.
An Orlando construction lawyer will now discuss some of the penalties associated with spoliation of evidence:
- Favorable evidence may no longer be valid in a legal proceeding by the party that destroyed the evidence. If a party accidentally destroyed valuable evidence, it cannot be presented.
- Any key expert or witness related to the destroyed evidence cannot provide testimony in regard to the evidence. Without compelling testimony, this can greatly impact a legal argument.
- A case may be dismissed entirely if a party destroyed or altered evidence related to their claim. In other words, without access to the evidence, the legal argument is no longer valid.
- Spoliation of evidence can also sway a court’s verdict. For example, if relevant evidence was destroyed, the court may decide that this action was performed to hide the truth and is proof of guilt by the party that destroyed the evidence.
- Failure to preserve evidence can also result in additional imposed sanctions, including financial penalties. Attorney fees, fines, and other sanctions can be imposed on a party that deliberately destroyed evidence that was instructed to be preserved by the court.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.