Kambylis v. Defendant Automobile Manufacturer

  • Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 788 N.E.2d 1 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2003)01/01/2003
    Client: Defendant Automobile Manufacturer
    Outcome: Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant Affirmed


Plaintiff filed suit claiming injury when the air bag in his automobile did not inflate following an accident. The vehicle was towed to a city pound and eventually destroyed because it was never claimed or recovered.

Holding that the plaintiff had a duty to preserve the evidence, the trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant.

The appellate court ruled that the doctrine of spoliation of evidence should be extended to a plaintiff’s “passive spoliation,” i.e. spoliation through inaction as opposed to action.

The appellate court held that a plaintiff cannot be free to stand by while crucial evidence may be altered or destroyed, and that a plaintiff has a duty to take all reasonable steps to notify the manufacturer of its potential claim and to preserve the evidence.