Assault in Medical Facility, Spoliation of Evidence.
Plaintiff, a patient at defendant medical center, was assaulted by another patient. Shortly after the incident plaintiff’s attorney sent a letter to the medical center asking that it preserve all records of the incident, including videotape. The letter was apparently never forwarded to the defendant’s risk management department and any videotape of the incident was overwritten in the ordinary course of business. The trial court, pursuant to CPLR 3126, sanctioned the defendant by striking the defendant’s answer “to the extent of precluding the defendant from introducing evidence at trial that the alleged perpetrator was being supervised by its employees at the time of the incident.” The Second Department discussed the sanctions available for spoliation of evidence and held that, because the plaintiff was not prevented from establishing her case by the spoliation, the imposed sanction was too harsh. The appropriate sanction was an adverse inference charge to the jury. Jennings v Orange Regional Medical Center, 2012-00209, Index No. 5601/10 Second Dept. 1-9-13