CIVIL ACTION NO.: 17-972-BAJ-RLB
RULING AND ORDER
Before the Court in this premises-liability case is Plaintiff Michael Niel's unopposed Motion for Sanctions for Spoliation of Evidence (Doc. 25) against Defendant Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC.
Niel fell from a portable ladder in a Purina facility. (Doc. 1-2 at pp. 4-7). He sued Purina, alleging that the ladder was defective. (Id.). Now, he asserts that Purina deliberately destroyed the ladder. (Doc. 25). He requests (1) an adverse-inference jury charge, (2) an award of the expert and attorney's fees associated with a second inspection of Purina's facility, and (3) an award of the attorney's fees and costs associated with the filing of this motion. (Id.). Purina did not respond to the motion. See Local Civil Rule 7(f) (requiring the party opposing a motion to file a response within 21 days of service of the motion).
The record reflects that Purina destroyed the portable ladder after it received a letter instructing it to preserve the ladder. Purina makes no effort to rebut Niel's record-supported assertions of the "bad conduct" required to support an adverse- inference jury charge. See Condrey v. Sun Trust Bank of Ga., 431 F.3d 191, 203 (5th Cir. 2005).
IT IS ORDERED that the unopposed Motion for Sanctions for Spoliation of Evidence (Doc. 25) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall meet and confer on an appropriate award of fees and costs associated with (1) the second inspection of Purina's facility and (2) the filing of the Motion for Sanctions. The parties shall file, within 7 days, a notice informing the Court of the amount agreed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, if the parties cannot agree on an appropriate award after conferring on the issue, then Plaintiff shall file, within 14 days, an application for fees and costs associated with (1) the second inspection of Purina's facility and (2) the filing of the Motion for Sanctions.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this 11th day of June, 2019.
JUDGE BRIAN A. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA