Cordoba v. Pulido

Filing 205

ORDER by Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong denying without prejudice to renewal 155 Motion for Adverse Inference Instruction; Magistrate's Report and Recommendation is ACCEPTED except with respect to recommendation to give an adverse inference instruction which is rejected as premature. (fs, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/6/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 OAKLAND DIVISION 7 Case No: C 12-04857 SBA 8 WILLIAM CORDOBA, ORDER RE PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR ADVERSE INFERENCE INSTRUCTION Plaintiff, 9 10 vs. Dkt. 155, 184, 189 11 SILVIA PULIDO, 12 Defendant. 13 14 The Court previously referred Plaintiff’s Motion for Adverse Inference Instruction to 15 Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim (“Magistrate”) for resolution. In her Report and 16 Recommendation, the Magistrate found that the Defendant destroyed her file regarding 17 Stanley Kelly, an inmate with whom she allegedly had a sexual relationship. In evaluating 18 whether an adverse inference instruction was warranted in light of Defendant’s conduct, the 19 Magistrate found that: (1) Defendant had an obligation to preserve the file when it was 20 destroyed; (2) she acted with “a culpable state of mind”; and (3) the evidence was 21 potentially relevant to the claims made by Plaintiff. Dkt. 184 at 4-6 (applying Clear-View 22 Techs., Inc. v. Rasnick, 2015 WL 2251005 at *7 (N.D. Cal. May 13, 2015)). The 23 Magistrate recommended that – “if evidence about Defendant’s allegedly inappropriate 24 relationship with Mr. Kelley is admitted into evidence at trial” – the Court should give a 25 permissive adverse inference instruction pertaining to Defendant’s spoliation of evidence 26 Dkt. 184 at 4. However, she recommended denying Plaintiff’s request for an adverse 27 inference instruction based on Defendant’s failure to preserve electronic mail and a draft 28 report evaluation of Plaintiff. Id. at 7. 1 In response to the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation, Defendant filed an 2 objection solely with respect to the language of the adverse inference instruction proposed 3 by the Magistrate. Dkt. 163. Neither party has objected to any other aspect of the 4 Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation. 5 Notwithstanding its prior referral of Plaintiff’s motion, the Court finds, upon further 6 review of the matter, that it is premature to address Plaintiff’s request for an adverse 7 inference instruction. The resolution of whether such an instruction is warranted (and the 8 appropriate language of the instruction, if given) is dependent, as a threshold matter, on 9 whether and to what extent evidence regarding Defendant’s alleged sexual relationship with 10 Stanley Kelley is admitted during trial. Since these admissibility issues have yet to be 11 resolved, the Court finds it preferable from both a procedural and substantive standpoint to 12 revisit this issue after the admissibility of such evidence is fully briefed. In view of the 13 parties’ dispute regarding the relevance of Defendant’s sexual relationship with Mr. Kelley, 14 they should address the admission of such evidence in their motions in limine. 15 Accordingly, 16 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation is 17 ACCEPTED, except with respect to her recommendation to give an adverse inference 18 instruction, which is REJECTED as premature. Plaintiff’s Motion for Adverse Inference 19 Instruction is DENIED without prejudice to renewal upon the Court’s resolution of the 20 admissibility of evidence pertaining to Defendant’s relationship with Mr. Kelley. The 21 Clerk shall terminate Docket Nos. 155, 184 and 189. 22 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 9/6/17 ______________________________ SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG Senior United States District Judge 24 25 26 27 28 -2-

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