Friday, September 8, 2023

Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Spoliation Argument Denied

In the case of Hein v. Master Builders Solution Admixtures U.S., LLC, No. 21-1116 (W.D. Pa. June 22, 2023 Hardy, J.), the court denied a Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment based upon a spoliation of evidence argument.

In this case, the court found that the record revealed that the Plaintiff had removed all of the allegedly defective building product from the property and had disposed of that product, except for one (1) bucket of material that was then later lost. All of this occurred before the Plaintiff gave the Defendant notice or opportunity to inspect.

As a result, the Defendant claimed that it was now impossible to determine if the Defendant had manufactured the now missing product.

The court noted that, although two (2) elements of spoliation were established, i.e., control of the evidence and relevance, there was no evidence revealed, to date, to conclusively establish the remaining two (2) factors, i.e., the actual withholding of evidence and the foreseeability that the evidence was discoverable.

According to the court, it was the Plaintiff’s claim that, at the time of the removal and the disposal of the product in question, the Plaintiff was not contemplating the lawsuit. The Plaintiff additionally claimed to have left one (1) bucket of the product with the buyers of the property after notifying the Defendant of the claim. The court noted that what had happened to that last bucket thereafter was not clear.

The court denied the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment based upon spoliation but allowed the Defendant to renew its argument after a full record was developed in the case.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Lucas Van Oort on

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