Diversified Concepts LLC v. Koford, 2021 UT App 71 (July 1, 2021)
The plaintiffs sued a construction company for allegedly installing defective retaining walls on their property, but they hired other contractors to completely dismantle and replace the walls before filing suit. The district court denied the construction company’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit outright as a sanction for spoliation, noting that Utah law on spoliation was undeveloped. On interlocutory appeal, the court of appeals articulated a new framework and provided a detailed outline for how district courts should analyze spoliation claims. Where there is an allegation of spoliation, the district court should first determine whether the custodial party violated its duty to preserve the evidence at issue. If the duty was not violated, then sanctions may not be imposed. But if the duty was violated, the court should then assess what type of sanction should be imposed.