Spoliation: Can I Fix This Yet?

There is a set of laws called the Rules of Evidence, with appellate cases that further (sometimes) clarify them. These rules pertain to lawsuits and the series of events that precede lawsuits. Most importantly, pre-litigation the concern is whether the problem can be fixed now or whether the fix must wait. The issue is that the adverse party must be given an opportunity to observe the problem is fixed. If not, the defense is that the adverse party is unable to properly defend itself due to spoliation of the evidence.

But, what to do if you have a moldy house or a broken-down car? What you don't have to do is wait until you are 8 months into a litigation. What you do have to do is provide notice and reasonable opportunity to the potentially culpable parties that the repairs will be undertaken in some short order. That notice should also advise that the potentially adverse parties have the right to inspect the damage before it is fixed and that a claim is expected to be forthcoming against the adverse parties.

That's spoliation in a nutshell. It's not perfect, but it is a rather fair rule. Do not lose your case because you fixed something prematurely. Give proper, fair notice, then proceed to preserve your assets.

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