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Analyst predicts judge will punish Zillow for evidence destruction

Litigation analyst said court will likely sanction portal giant after spoliation hearing
  • Over the course of six days, a King County Superior Court judge heard arguments for and against imposing sanctions on Zillow and two of its executives, Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley.
  • Move and its co-plaintiff, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), allege that Samuelson and Beardsley's actions constituted "massive" evidence destruction in a trade secrets lawsuit originally filed in March 2014.
  • One litigation analyst predicts Zillow will emerge bruised from the hearing, but live to defend itself and plead its own case at the upcoming June 6 trial.

Now that archrivals Zillow and Move Inc. have faced off in the courtroom, a Washington state judge will decide whether the two fight an even bigger battle. Over the course of six days, a King County Superior Court judge heard arguments for and against imposing sanctions on Zillow and two of its executives for what Move and its co-plaintiff, the National Association of Realtors (NAR), allege constituted "massive" evidence destruction in a trade secrets lawsuit originally filed in March 2014. Move and NAR contend the executives -- Errol Samuelson and Curt Beardsley, Zillow Group's top representatives to the real estate industry -- destroyed, or "spoliated," so much critical evidence in the case that a fair trial may no longer be possible. Therefore, they are asking the court to issue a ruling deciding the case in their favor without a trial -- a "terminating sanction" -- or, if the case does go to trial, that the court give an "adverse inference" instruction to the jury telling...