When working on the scope of materials to preserve for a slip and fall case, be sure to add one more item to your checklist: security camera video.
In Minaya v. Duane Reade a New York State appellate court upheld sanctions resulting from the failure of defendant to preserve video recordings of a stairway that may have shown the condition of the stairs prior to plaintiff's fall and may have even recorded plaintiff's fall.
The trial court actually precluded defendant from offering any evidence about the condition of the stairs and awarded an adverse inference charge. The appellate court held that precluding all evidence of the condition of the stairs was too harsh. The adverse inference charge was deemed sufficient to restore balance to the case.
This a very short opinion. To read the opinion click here. Quote worthy:
Defendant failed to preserve a video recording that may have shown the stairway before and during plaintiff's accident. The unavailability to plaintiff of the video recording may have impaired his ability to establish that defendant possessed the requisite notice of a defective condition on the stairs. Under these circumstances, however, the extreme sanction of preclusion is not warranted "to restore balance to the matter". Rather, an adverse inference is sufficient to prevent defendant from using the absence of the videotape to its own advantage