In a resounding victory for firm client Kal Tire, Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the Southern District of New York granted Kal Tire’s motion for terminating sanctions and dismissed plaintiff ComLab Corp.’s complaint with prejudice and awarded Kal Tire its attorneys’ fees and costs. ComLab – a New York IT company – filed suit in 2017 alleging that Kal Tire – the largest private tire distributor in Canada – breached a purported website development contract. After an evidentiary hearing at which Kal Tire presented fact and expert witnesses, Judge Forrest found by clear and convincing evidence that the Plaintiff’s CEO fabricated emails to support his contract claim and then spoliated evidence to hide the fabrication.
In a 21-page opinion, Judge Forrest wrote that “the evidence clearly shows that, after delaying production of this critical evidence for months, [Plaintiff’s CEO] willfully deleted the native e-mails in a deliberate attempt to hide the fact that they were fabricated.” She held that the CEO’s misconduct was a “serious transgression” warranting the strongest sanctions possible: “ComLab’s actions not only prejudiced Kal Tire, which has no doubt expended significant resources in defending this litigation, but also the Court, which has now been forced to spend significant time presiding over this absurd series of events. Having considered lesser sanctions such as a fine, an adverse jury instruction, and other less drastic sanctions, the Court concludes that dismissal is the only appropriate sanction here.”
The Littleton Park team was led by partners Eric Goldberg, James Ughetta, and Robert Joyce.