MDB Trucking, LLC v. Versa Products Co.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court imposing case-termination sanctions on MDB Trucking, LLC for spoliation of evidence, holding that the record did not support the imposition of case-terminating sanctions in this case.
Plaintiffs filed lawsuits against MDB, a commercial trucking company, and Versa Products Company, which manufactured the dump gate valves, after an MDB driver experienced an uncommanded activation of the dump gate in his rig's trailer, causing it to open and unexpectedly dump its loads. The incident caused several collisions. MBD cross-claimed against Versa for contribution, alleging an unreasonably dangerous and defective design of the Versa valve. MDB reached a settlement with Plaintiffs, who assigned their claims against Versa to MDB. Versa then filed the motion for sanctions underlying this appeal, asking the district court to dismiss MDB's claim with prejudice for having spoliated evidence, namely by discarding plug, sockets, and cords in the tractor/trailer rig. The district court dismissed MDB's claims with prejudice, holding that MDB's failure to preserve the replaced parts caused Versa prejudice that lesser sanctions could not cure. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that MDB acted negligently, not willfully, when it discarded the replaced parts and that, on remand, the district court should consider whether Versa can meet its burden of proving prejudice.