Extract from Doug Austin’s article “Appeals Court Affirms Ruling Denying Motion to Dismiss Because of Plaintiff’s Use of CCleaner”
In Liadis v. Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), No. 351205 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 28, 2021), an unpublished Per Curiam decision issued by the Court of Appeals of Michigan, the Court affirmed the decision of the trial court to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case after approximately 41,000 unidentified files were deleted by a computer program called “CCleaner” on the plaintiff’s laptop.
In this case, arising from a claim of head trauma from a motor vehicle accident when a bus owned by the defendant struck plaintiff’s vehicle while it was stopped in traffic, the defendant sought production of the plaintiff’s personal laptops, claiming they were likely to contain evidence that would either support or refute plaintiff’s claims. The trial court ordered plaintiff to produce her laptops to the defendant’s computer forensic expert. In the days leading up to and including the trial court’s entry of the order compelling production of the laptops, approximately 41,000 unidentified files were deleted by a computer program called “CCleaner” on the plaintiff’s laptop. As a result, the defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint on the basis of the destruction of evidence and discovery violations. A four-day evidentiary hearing was held by the trial court, after which the trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.