California Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal sanctioned the South Korean tech company for destroying evidence, or, more accurately, failing to not destroy evidence.
Samsung's email system deletes messages automatically after two weeks, and the company took no measures to preserve relevant emails even after the patent case had been filed, said Grewal.
The judge granted Apple's request for an "adverse jury instruction," informing the jury of Samsung's transgression.
Samsung left the shredder on
"In effect, Samsung kept the shredder on long after it should have known about this litigation," Grewal wrote in the filing.
He noted that Samsung may not have purposely destroyed any evidence, but that the company should have disabled the system that automatically deletes emails as soon as it was clear they'd be heading to court.
Now the jury must decide whether Samsung's actions will affect their verdict.
Troubles for Samsung
This news comes a mere day after Samsung was reprimanded by Northern California District Judge Lucy Koh for requesting to make their patent war with Apple even longer and more complicated.
Samsung wanted to double the time and more than triple the number of exhibits each side will be allowed to present when the case begins on Monday, but Judge Koh denied the request, admitting that she's "frustrated" with Samsung.
Apple and Samsung are currently duking it out over 30 cases in 10 different countries, with each side winning various tenuous victories but neither yet coming out clearly on top.
In response to TechRadar's inquiries, a Samsung spokesperson pointed out that an International Trade Commission judge squashed similar accusations earlier this year.
"He concluded that Samsung took 'reasonable and appropriate steps to preserve evidence' and that Samsung's document retention policy complied with federal law," the spokesperson wrote in an email.
"We intend to appeal Judge Grewal's decision to the trial judge, and if necessary, to the Court of Appeals. Samsung remains committed to complying with all information requests from the court."
Via The Verge
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Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.
Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for Playboy.com, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.