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Federico v. Lincoln Military Housing, LLC

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
2014 WL 7447937 (2014)


Facts

Lincoln Military Housing LLC (Lincoln) (defendant) managed housing that the government rented to military families. Eight families, including Shelly Federico (families) (plaintiffs), filed suit against Lincoln, claiming Lincoln’s failure to maintain the properties caused them injury due to black mold. Before the suit, the families posted complaints about Lincoln on Facebook. Federico posted a picture of the black mold immediately after a contractor discovered it, and she commented later on the post that she was moving out. Before the suit was filed, Lincoln’s counsel sent a letter to Federico’s counsel directing her to preserve and eventually produce electronic records concerning Lincoln and the condition of her home or her illnesses. After the suit was filed, Lincoln served discovery requests on each plaintiff seeking the electronic records. The families produced almost none. The court held three hearings on the discovery requests and Lincoln’s motion to compel. During each hearing, the families conceded they had not produced the majority of relevant electronic records, and they continued to fail to do so. In one hearing, they claimed they would need an expert to search their records that would cost $22,450. The court continued the trial date and extended discovery. Finally, the families produced over 5,000 records, most of which were cumulative or repetitive. Lincoln motioned for sanctions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Miller, J.)

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