What are the potential consequences for tampering with evidence in a civil case?

I’m involved in a civil case as a plaintiff, and have strong evidence suggesting that the opposing party is retroactively modifying/amending/falsifying the content/text of older documents so as to make portray them in a light more favorable to their defense. I can prove this since I have just discovered the original documents from a few years ago in an old drawer of which shows how the documents originally looked before the modifications Defendants have made in their official disclosures of them to me. What can I do? Are there any motions I can file, or is there a good way to indicate Defendants’ tampering to the judge? Are there any consequences for this given that this isn’t a criminal case, but a civil case?

A: In addition to the remedies referenced in the previous answer, you can also seek a jury instruction in which the judge tells the jury that the other side has engaged in “spoliation of evidence.” This is a damning instruction that can really affect the dynamic of the case. But you have to be able to prove what was changed!

* This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the State of Arizona only. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. You should not rely on this advice alone, and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship.

Published By:

Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.
1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
Office: 480-655-7440
Fax: 480-655-7099

By , Arizona Litigation Attorney.
Re-posted from AVVO Legal Questions & Answers.

Can a party request that the Judge hold/store physical evidence during a civil case?

For example, fictitiously speaking, say one of the primary questions of fact in a civil case is whether or not one of the parties to the case still maintains a key to a mailbox. Must the party that is alleging within their Complaint that they still have the key within their possession have to physically disclose the said key to the opposing party in a disclosure, or is simply alleging it until trial simply enough?? Is there any way that a civil judge will hold/store physical evidence such as this until the end of a case–evidence that can’t be replaced or duplicated due to it being physical in nature. Or is the party claiming that they have the key obligated to physically disclose it? Wouldn’t that be a bit risky in the instance that the Defending party lies about receiving it?

A: The party that doesn’t have the key will have to show it to the other party if properly requested under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 34. It is unusual for the court to hold onto a piece of evidence, but if it were introduced as an exhibit, the court would typically keep it as a matter of course.

* This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the State of Arizona only. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. You should not rely on this advice alone, and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship.

Published By:

Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C.
1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
Office: 480-655-7440
Fax: 480-655-7099

By , Mesa Litigation Attorney.
Re-posted from AVVO Legal Questions & Answers.