Georgia Court of Appeals Throws Out $25,000,000 Award, Citing Improper Spoliation Charge and Handling – by J. Robb Cruser

At trial, Plaintiff requested and got a spoliation charge concerning portions of a video that MARTA failed to produce concerning a fall case. That evidentiary victory sowed the seeds to appellate defeat. The Georgia Court of Appeals reminded that “[p]rior to charging the jury on spoliation, the trial court must determine ‘whether spoliation occurred, whether the spoliator acted in bad faith, the importance of the compromised evidence, and so on.’” That didn’t happen. There was no evidentiary hearing concerning the alleged spoliated video.

The Court of Appeals added, “The trial court did not make any express factual findings that spoliation occurred, and we fail to see where this particular record supports such a conclusion.” To sum up, the required hearing didn’t happen and, even if it did happen, there was no spoliation to begin with given the “particular record” before the Court.

See Metropolitan Rapid Transit Authority v. Tyler (A21A0626; July 2, 2021) for the full opinion.