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Blinzler v. Marriott International, Inc.

81 F.3d 1148 (1996)

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Blinzler v. Marriott International, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

81 F.3d 1148 (1996)

Facts

Gloria Blinzler (plaintiff) and her husband were guests at a hotel owned by Marriott International, Inc. (Marriott) (defendant). During their stay, Blinzler’s husband suffered a heart attack. Blinzler used the hotel’s phone system to contact the operator and request an ambulance. The operator failed to call emergency services for approximately 14 minutes. After the operator finally placed the call, it took an ambulance approximately 13 minutes to reach the hotel. Blinzler’s husband ultimately died due to oxygen deprivation. Blinzler filed a wrongful-death diversity action in federal court against Marriott. At trial, an expert for Blinzler testified that if the EMTs had arrived 10 minutes earlier, Blinzler’s husband would have recovered. Blinzler also offered evidence to the jury that Marriott destroyed a telephone log that would have pinpointed the exact time that the operator placed a call to emergency services. Marriott objected to the admission of evidence that it spoliated the call log, claiming that it was discarded in the ordinary course of business after 30 days. The district court overruled the objection and allowed the evidence to be admitted. On appeal, Marriott claimed that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of spoliation because there was no direct evidence to show that the call log was discarded for an ulterior purpose.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Selya, J.)

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