Spoliation of evidence doesn’t bar recovery

A fire occurred in four garages that were attached to a multi-unit apartment building in Texas. The client retained its own expert, an electrical engineer, to examine a fire scene prior to referring the loss to Stutman Law. The expert went to the scene and removed evidence before anyone was placed on notice. Stutman Law obtained details surrounding the loss and sent our own investigator to the scene to perform his examination. Our investigator determined that the loss likely involved an outlet. Stutman Law immediately placed the electrical outlet manufacturer on notice and arranged for a joint scene examination. The original expert hired by the client was unable to reconstruct the scene and replace vital evidence that he had previously removed. Our client’s expert had no photographs of the evidence as it existed in its original location. The electrical outlet manufacturer immediately claimed spoliation of evidence and argued that we could not establish that its product was even related to the loss. Stutman Law’s investigator systematically examined the scene and isolated the fire’s point of origin to limit the only possible ignition source as the outlet. Despite the fact that the outlet manufacturer had a good spoliation defense, the thoroughness of our investigation convinced the manufacturer to reach a substantial out of court settlement.

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