Preservation of Evidence

On October 9, 2009, Judge Fallon of the Eastern District of Louisiana issued Pre-Trial Order No. 1(B) – Preservation of Evidence. The Order outlines the requirements for the preservation of all physical evidence, including drywall, HVAC coil material, plumbing components, electrical components and any other personal property items.

When preserving drywall, the Court requires two samples, 10×10 in size, of every different drywall brand removed from the property. Each sample must be labeled with the date of collection, the room location and the specific wall that the sample was taken. All samples must be dry and stored separately in double-bagged zip-lock bags and not grouped together. They should be stored in a climate controlled area. All samples should be labeled on the outside of the bag with the name, address of the property, the sampling date, type of sample and where on the property it was taken from. You should also take a photograph of the backside of each piece of drywall immediately after it is removed and document on the a floor plan of the property exactly where it was removed from.

When preserving HVAC coil material, the Court requires you document on the a floor plan of the property exactly where it was removed from and you photograph the HVAC coil. You should also preserve the entire HVAC coil or do one of the following: a. preserve at least 8 copper U-bends (4 from each side) or b. preserve at least 8 sections (at least 6-10 in. long) of refrigerant line. All samples must be dry and stored separately in double-bagged zip-lock bags and not grouped together. They should be stored in a climate controlled area. All samples should be labeled on the outside of the bag with the name, address of the property, the sampling date, type of sample and where on the property it was taken from.

When preserving plumbing components, the Court requires you photograph the fixtures while they are still in place and identify their location on a floor plan of the property. If there are multiple fixtures, only one complete allegedly affected fixture is required to be preserved. All samples must be dry and stored separately in double-bagged zip-lock bags and not grouped together. They should be stored in a climate controlled area. All samples should be labeled on the outside of the bag with the name, address of the property, the sampling date, type of sample and where on the property it was taken from.

When preserving electrical component samples, the Court requires you preserve at least three affected electrical receptacles and three affected electrical switches. All samples must be dry and stored separately in double-bagged zip-lock bags and not grouped together. They should be stored in a climate controlled area. All samples should be labeled on the outside of the bag with the name, address of the property, the sampling date, type of sample and where on the property it was taken from. If smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors or intruder alarm devices are affected, the Court requires at least two of each type of device be preserved.

If you have a claim for personal property, you are required to preserve all items allegedly affected by the Chinese-manufactured drywall for which you intend to pursue recovery.