Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Judge rules on Zillow exec evidence destruction

SEATTLE – May 20, 2016 – A Seattle judge issued a ruling on one element of the Move Inc. versus Zillow lawsuit. Move Inc. – the oversight company of realtor.com – alleged that Zillow execs destroyed important evidence when they left Move Inc. to work for Zillow.
On Wednesday, Seattle Judge Sean O'Donnell agreed with Move, which filed the suit along with the National Association of Realtors®, and said that the Zillow execs, Curt Beardsley and Errol Samuelson, acted with "willfulness and bad faith" when they destroyed evidence. As a result, jurors in the trial will be told that evidence is missing or was destroyed.
The ruling moves the case forward and possibly helps Move's case. The judge will issue an "adverse instruction" to the jurors about the missing evidence. While jurors will ultimately decide if that missing evidence is important, it's more likely that it will hurt Zillow's case in their eyes.
"Beardsley's conduct does more than prejudice plaintiffs' ability to prosecute their case," Donnell said, calling Beardsley's behavior "an undermining of the tenants which make our system of justice work."
However the judge did not decide the behavior warranted sanctions or an automatic default of the case.
Source: New York Post, Richard Morgan

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