A Circuit Court judge said Friday she would impose sanctions against Country Club Hills for its failure to comply with a court order to preserve digital material related to a lawsuit brought by a female firefighter over alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
Judge Brigid Mary McGrath, who entered the order after hearing testimony from both sides over the past two months, said that while sanctions were warranted she would not decide on their extent until after outstanding discovery had been returned and the significance of any documents that were destroyed was determined.
Her decision to impose sanctions followed the plaintiff’s assertion that fire department officials had destroyed digital evidence that firefighters regularly viewed pornography on department computers, despite having received notice to preserve the material as part of a lawsuit.
“It’s clear that there were anti-forensic (computer) tools run after this court had ordered compliance with outstanding discovery request,” she said after announcing her decision to grant the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions related to discovery violations and spoliation. “And even though some of these things might have been done inadvertently, it still doesn’t undercut the court’s conclusion that sanctions are appropriate.”
Attorneys for Country Club Hills declined comment on McGrath’s decision after Friday’s hearing.
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