This is what it sounds like, when sanctions are granted.
In March 2019, a federal judge in Minnesota sanctioned Defendants for their failure to preserve text messages in a copyright infringement suit brought in part by the estate of the late musician commonly known as “Prince”.
Representatives for Prince’s estate brought suit against Defendants George Ian Boxill, Rogue Music Alliance (“RMA”), Deliverance LLC (“Deliverance”), David Staley, Gabriel Solomon Wilson, and other parties alleging copyright infringement. Plaintiffs filed suit for copyright infringement after learning that Defendants Boxill and RMA created Deliverance to market and release previously unreleased recordings that Prince created during recording sessions in 2006. Defendant Boxill worked as Prince’s sound engineer during the 2006 recording sessions. Plaintiffs allege that a confidentiality agreement with Boxill placed ownership of the recordings solely on Prince.
Before releasing the music, Defendant Staley sent an email to Sensibility Music indicating that Defendant Boxill would indemnify RMA if Plaintiffs challenged the release. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff’s estate sent a cease and desist letter, then filed suit.
The parties agreed to certain stipulations regarding discovery of ESI including taking “reasonable steps to preserve reasonably accessible sources of ESI.” The court did not enter an order concerning the stipulation but noted that it will enforce the agreement and warned that any non-compliance will be met with all available remedies, including sanctions. The Court also issued a pretrial scheduling order for both parties to preserve “all electronic documents that bear on any claims, defenses, or the subject matter of this lawsuit.” The court issued two additional pretrial scheduling orders each containing similar language to the first regarding preservation and warnings regarding consequences for violations.