This case is an appeal from an order dismissing an action in which Patzer sought judgment against Hastings on the basis that a ticket voucher from a computer-run ticket machine had been issued to him in the amount of $6.5 million. After depositing a number of betting slips in the machine, Patzer was given a winning voucher for the amount above. The trial judge found that the voucher had been issued as a computer or mechanical error. Further at issue was Patzer’s allegation that the doctrine of spoliation applied so as to give him a remedy since Hastings had destroyed all deposited betting slips for the day in question and Patzer was therefore unable to prove how much he had won. The trial judge found that the doctrine of spoliation did not apply.
On appeal, Patzer argued that the trial judge erred in finding that the tickets were destroyed in the ordinary course of business. The Court of Appeal held that there were no errors in the reasoning of the trial judge with respect to the facts, the law or the application of the law with respect to the doctrine of spoliation. The court further holds that Patzer was unable to prove that the tickets he inserted into the machine were winning tickets and as such is unable to prove that contract documents have been destroyed. Therefore the question of spoliation does not even arise. However, the court goes further and considers the spoliation argument as if it were necessary. The court finds that the tickets were destroyed in the ordinary course of business and therefore their destruction was not an act of spoliation. The tickets were routinely sent for recycling within a week or two of the date of insertion into the machine. Further, Patzer waited two years to commence the action and so it would have been more than reasonable for Hastings to have destroyed the tickets by then especially after an employee had already informed Patzer that the ticket had been issued in error.