Do not destroy the truck after a truck accident.

After a deadly 18-wheeler accident, the trucking company “decided to have the remains of the tractor and part of the trailer cut in half and crushed.”  The district court allowed a spoliation instruction in the subsequent litigation, and the Fifth Court affirmed, noting: “the severity of the crash, [the CEO’s] years of experience in the industry, his previous dealings with obtaining police reports, and his awareness to preserve the [electronic control mechanism].”  That said, particularly given the company’s protection by the workers’ compensation statutes, the death penalty sanctions entered by the district court did not have a “direct relationship” to that destruction.  In re: J. H. Walker Inc., No. 05-14-01497-CV (Jan. 15, 2016) (mem. op.)  This opinion presents a thoughtful application of the Texas Supreme Court’s recent analysis of spoliation in Brookshire Brothers, Ltd. v. Aldridge, 438 S.W.2d 9 (Tex. 2014).

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