Kambylis v. Defendant Automobile Manufacturer
Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 788 N.E.2d 1 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2003)01/01/2003
Defendant Automobile Manufacturer
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.