(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this slip and fall case could just as easily occur at any of the supermarkets in the area, such as Safeway, Raley’s, Bel Air, SaveMart, Walmart, or Whole Foods.
Spoliation of Evidence/Adverse Inference
The California Supreme Court, in finding that there is not an independent tort of spoliation of evidence, stated, The intentional destruction of evidence is a grave affront to the cause of justice and deserves our unqualified condemnation. There are, however, existing and effective nontort remedies for this problem. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1, 4. The Supreme Court found that the adverse inference a jury may draw against the spoliating party is an adequate safeguard: [In] Evidence Code section 413, this inference is as follows:
In determining what inferences to draw from the evidence or facts in the case against a party, the trier of fact may consider, among other things, the party’s … willful suppression of evidence relating thereto … The standard California jury instructions include an instruction on this inference as well: If you find that a party willfully suppressed evidence in order to prevent its being presented in this trial, you may consider that fact in determining what inferences to draw from the evidence. (BAJI No. 2.03 (8th ed. 1994).) Id. At 12. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
CACI 204 (Willful Suppression of Evidence) instructs the jury as follows: You may consider whether one party intentionally concealed or destroyed evidence. If you decide that a party did so, you may decide that the evidence would have been unfavorable to that party. (See Part 12 of 12.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.