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United States District Court, District of Delaware Issues Order Regarding Deletion of Hard Drive

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On August 19, 2004, two corporals and a sergeant, all members of the Delaware State Police Department (the "Plaintiffs"), filed an action alleging violations of the First Amendment Free Speech Clause. After several amendments to their complaint, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Sanctions and Other Relief (D.I. 87) which asserts that defendants intentially destroyed relevant evidence, namely the hard drive of one of the defendants' computers. On February 8, 2006 the defendants filed an opposition (D.I. 93) asserting that, while the hard drive was no longer available, it was duplicative in light of the process by which the Delaware State Police stores its data. The Court concluded that the defendants had a duty to preserve the hard drive since a user had the ability to manually designate a different file path and save a document outside of the system. Appropriate sanctions will be determined by the Court after independent experts are consulted to determine whether the hard drive can be recovered. 

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