United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
STEVEN CROW and CHERYL CROW, and CHERYL CROW on behalf of and as parent and guardian to J.M.C., J.J.C., and G.E.C., Plaintiffs,
COSMO SPECIALTY FIBERS, INC.; TRANS-SYSTEM, INC. d/b/a JAMES J. WILLIAMS BULK SERVICE TRANSPORT; AIRGAS SPECIALTY PRODUCTS, INC.; JOHN DOE and JANE DOE; JOHN DOE TWO COMPANY, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS TRANS-SYSTEM, INC. D/B/A JAMES J.
WILLIAMS BULK SERVICE TRANSPORT'S MOTION FOR SPOLIATION
J. BRYAN United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants Trans-system,
Inc. d/b/a James J. Williams Bulk Services Transport's
(TSI-JJW's) Motion for Spoliation Sanctions. Dkt. 82. The
Court has considered the motion, Defendant Cosmo Specialty
Fibers, Inc.'s Response (Dkt. 87), Plaintiffs'
Response (Dkt. 94), TSI-JJW's Reply (Dkt. 96), and the
remainder of the file herein.
motion presents the issue of whether Cosmo should be
sanctioned for its failure to retain or produce an email. For
the reasons discussed herein, sanctions are not warranted,
and TSI-JJW's motion should be denied.
case arises out of alleged injuries to Plaintiff Steven Crow
from an exposure incident, where he was allegedly exposed to
hazardous fumes or gas released on the afternoon of September
27, 2012. The precise timing of the incident is disputed by
the parties. On that date, Mr. Crow and three fellow
Weyerhauser coworkers worked at the Weyerhauser Truck Shop,
which is adjacent to a pulp mill operated by Cosmo. According
to Cosmo's records, a tanker truck operated by TSI-JJW
entered the pulp mill at 12:10pm and departed at 1:46pm. The
delivery log sheet of the tanker truck driver, Devin Godwin,
indicates that he delivered aqua ammonia to Cosmo between
12:20pm and 1:20pm.
offloading the aqua ammonia, Mr. Godwin has testified, he
vented remaining vapor pressure into the atmosphere. While
venting, Mr. Godwin drove from the delivery site, which is 1,
100 feet from the exposure site, to a secluded location on
Cosmo property, wherein he drove within 300 feet of the
exposure site, a distance that arguably increased the risk of
exposure from venting.
3:17pm, Weyerhauser employee, Karen Temen, sent an email to
Cosmo employees Donna Parsons and Jeffrey Hanoff.
(Cosmo's disclosure of this email is at the center of
TSI-JJW's motion.) The September 27, 2012, 3:17pm email
from Ms. Temen stated the following:
Subject: let's meet again
It's been awhile [sic] and I'm receiving
some complaints today from our employees. Not sure if the
wind shifted or it's hot out or??
Can you all meet on October 8th [sic]
time is flexible at this point depending on your schedules.
Dkt. 83-1 at 23.
internal Weyerhauser Investigation Report narrates that
“[o]n Thursday 9/27/12 at ~1500hrs 4 WY [Weyerhauser]
employees were exposed to unknown gas release from adjacent
Cosmo pulp mill, ” and that “WY [Weyerhauser]
liaison contacted the safety coordinator for the pulp mill at
~1515hrs.” Dkt. 83-1 at 7.
Pre-filing communications and ...