The Eighth Circuit recently found no abuse of discretion in a district court's denial of sanctions for spoliation, noting that a party must demonstrate intent and prejudice. The panel, in Greyhound Lines, Inc. v. Wade, 2007 WL 1189451 (8th Cir. Apr. 24, 2007), held as follows:
A spoliation-of-evidence sanction requires "a finding of intentional destruction indicating a desire to suppress the truth." "Intent is rarely proved by direct evidence, and a district court has substantial leeway to determine intent through consideration of circumstantial evidence, witness credibility, motives of the witnesses in a particular case, and other factors.”
Before, during and after trial, the district court reviewed Archway's spoliation claims, each time denying sanctions. Archway argues that because litigation was likely, Greyhound had a duty to preserve the ECM data. The ultimate focus for imposing sanctions for spoliation of evidence is the intentional destruction of evidence indicating a desire to suppress the truth, not the prospect of litigation. Thus, the district court did not err in finding spoliation had not occurred. Additionally, although some material was not preserved, the ECM data identified the specific mechanical defect that slowed the bus, and several bus passengers testified how the bus acted before the collision.