What can happen if I destroy or throw out evidence in my Houston, Texas bankruptcy case?

According to a recent Houston bankruptcy court case, spoliation is “‘the destruction of evidence [or the] destruction, or the significant and meaningful alteration of a document or instrument.’” And under Texas law, a party seeking a finding that spoliation of evidence has occurred must establish: “(1) whether the accused party had a duty to preserve the evidence; (2) whether the accused party negligently or intentionally spoliated evidence; and (3) whether the spoliation prejudiced the other party's ability to present its case or defense.” In re Michael Glyn Brown, Bankr. SD Texas 2014.

If you intentionally throw away or destroy what would have been evidence in a court proceeding, including a bankruptcy case, you can get in serious trouble. The court may sanction or fine you, and the judge could enter an "adverse inference" against you.

J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization