Spoliation is the destruction or alteration of a document that destroys its value as evidence in a legal proceeding. Soliation often carries an inference of intentional destruction in order to avoid negative implications associated with evidence. Some jurisdictions have allowed a spoliation tort action, which allows the victim of destruction of evidence to file a separate tort action against a spoliator.
Spoliation often arises in the context of a person claiming to have been injured by a defective product which he then discarded or lost. In such cases, the defendant manufacturer or distributor may move to dismiss the case on the basis of spoliation.