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Fraudulent Concealment of Evidence
General Practice
Fraudulent concealment of evidence differs from spoliation in that fraudulent concealment of evidence is a tort whereby a victim of fraudulent concealment of evidence may recover compensatory damages (compensate the injured party for the injury sustained; restore an injured party to the position he or she was in prior to the injury) and punitive damages (damages above what will compensate an injured party; intended to punish a party for wrongful conduct) from defendant or third party spoliator of evidence. To succeed on a claim of fraudulent concealment of evidence, the plaintiff must prove more than mere negligence, but it is not necessary to prove an evil-minded act on the part of the defendant. [1] Moreover, the spoliatorís intent level does not affect liability for destruction of evidence resulting in interference with discovery; rather it has a bearing on the remedy to be administered for that spoliation. The Elements of Fraudulent Concealment of Evidence Are: 1. The defendant had a legal obligation to disclose evidence to the plaintiff; 2. The evidence was material to the defendantís case; 3. The defendant could not have readily learned of the concealed information without the defendant disclosing it; 4. The defendants intentionally failed to disclose evidence to the plaintiff; and 5. The plaintiff was harmed by relying on non-disclosure. See Allis Chalmers Corporation v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, 702 A.2d 1336, 1339 (N.J. 1997).

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