In T&E Investment Group LLC v. Faulkner, Nos. 11-0724, 11-1158, (N.D. Tex. Feb. 12, 2014), the court affirmed a magistrate judge’s order sanctioning a defendant for using software to alter the metadata on files in order to hide the fact that the party used a different, unproduced computer during the period relevant to the case.  The magistrate judge had appointed a third-party computer forensic expert to examine the defendant’s computers after earlier discovery problems.  The expert reported that the defendant “used a bulk file changer to alter the data [from one computer] in an apparent attempt to make it look like that was his computer that he used all the time.”  With respect to prejudice, the magistrate judge held that it was “impossible for Plaintiffs to prove directly that the [missing] computer’s contents were relevant to the litigation,” but that the defendant’s actions in attempting to hide that computer would permit a “reasonable factfinder [to] conclude that the [missing] computer contained information that was relevant and would have aided Plaintiffs.”  The magistrate judge recommended that a permissive spoliation instruction would be read to the jury and further ordered $27,500 in monetary sanctions.  The district court affirmed the sanctions.