Product Liability Defense

These two unrelated product liability cases for the same national medium and heavy duty truck manufacturer involved the issue of spoliation of physical evidence (vehicle components). In the first case Plaintiff insisted that the vehicle be preserved “as is” until his expert could inspect it. We moved for summary judgment on the basis of spoliation but were happy to take a directed verdict dismissing the client at the end of the Plaintiff’s case. In the second case we asked the owner to preserve the allegedly defective (and recently recalled) component. It mysteriously disappeared. After a two day hearing in which six engineers testified to the bench, the Court held that Plaintiff’s claim must be dismissed. Although we did not have an opportunity to clarify Kentucky spoliation law on appeal, two respected state court judges disproved the myth that trial judges will not seriously consider spoliation defenses.