An Oklahoma insurance lawyer, Steven Buckman, recently started a new blog called Oklahoma Insurance Law. Its well written with a bit of comedy, including frequent accounts with "Bubba" (the redneck policyholder) and the "tall building lawyer" (the insurer’s counsel).
In the latest post, the topic was whether deleting photographs from a cell phone constitutes spoliation of evidence. Here’s a taste of Buckman’s writings:
The "tall building lawyer" found out during the EUO that Bubba took photos of all the hand guns one week before the fire. Bubba was going to send the photos to a disabled vet who just returned home due to a medical discharge for combat injuries. Bubba has a big heart and wanted to do something for one of our soldiers wounded in the service of our country. He was going to let this soldier have his pick of any gun he wanted and give it to him as a gesture of appreciation. The fire destroyed the guns so he never sent the photos. The insurer learned about the photos and wanted a copy to document the claim.
The photos no longer exist. Bubba, while scouting his favorite deer stand, saw a "buck with a rack that makes ya as giddy as a schoolgirl gettin’ ready for her first date." He took so many pictures of the buck that he overwrote the photos of the guns.
Is this spoliation? Maybe, depending on whether litigation was anticipated at the time the photos are deleted.
Good luck with the new blog Steven.