Brown v. Tellermate Holdings (Tellermate II)
United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
2014 WL 2987051 (2014)
Tellermate Holdings Ltd. (Tellermate) (defendant) fired Robert and Christine Brown (plaintiffs) in 2011. The Browns brought a federal suit against Tellermate for age discrimination and, to help disprove Tellermate’s story that the Browns were fired for poor sales performance, the Browns requested discovery of Tellermate’s pre-2011 sales data. Tellermate kept its sales data on a Salesforce.com (Salesforce) database. Tellermate’s lawyer responded that Tellermate lacked any ability to print out the data, and that the Browns should address their discovery request to Salesforce. Reasonable inquiries would have informed the lawyer that Tellermate’s employees routinely printed out sales data from Salesforce, and that under the contract between Tellermate and Salesforce, Tellermate clearly remained the owner of its own sales data. In April 2013, the court granted the Browns’ motion to compel discovery, but it was January 2014 before Tellermate took steps to respond to the court’s discovery order. This long delay gave Tellermate’s employees time to spoliate pre-2011 sales data, either deliberately or unintentionally, and Salesforce’s six-month data-retention policy meant that Salesforce could no longer recreate that data from Salesforce’s own backup tapes.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kemp, J.)
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