Legal Considerations to Preserving Video Surveillance Evidence

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Feb 11, 2014

Missing surveillance video, even if you did not 'mean' to do it, can lead to sanctions and penalties in court.

We spoke with attorney Mark Berman who specializes in electronic discovery issues, such as video surveillance, about when end users have the duty to preserve footage from being lost, destroyed or degraded, and how to use it.

Determining If Content Should Be Preserved

If someone receives a notice of a litigation or they reasonably should have known the information could be potentially relevant, then that is where the preservation obligation kicks in. The most common cases where these issues come up with video surveillance are personal injury.

******* ************ *****, **** ** *** *** ***'****'** ** **, *** **** ** ********* *** ********* ** court.

** ***** **** ******** **** ********* *********** ** ********** ********* ******, **** ** ***** ************, about **** *** ***** **** *** **** ** ******** ******* from ***** ****, ********* ** ********, *** *** ** *** it.

Determining ** ******* ****** ** *********

** ******* ******** * ****** ** * **************** ********** ****** **** ***** *** *********** ***** ** *********** relevant, **** **** ** ***** *** ************ ********** ***** **. The **** ****** ***** ***** ***** ****** **** ** **** video ************ *** ******** ******.

[***************]

Penalties *** **** ********** **** ** ***** ************ ******* *** ** *** ** negligence *** ** *** *** *** ** ***** *** ****** of ********* ****** *** ********* ******** ********* ** *** ***** of ****** ***** ** *** *****. ***** ***** ******* ******** sanctions, ********’* ****, * ***** ********** ******* ** ****, ******** preclusion ** ** **** ********* *****, ******** * *** ** the ***** *****.

**** ************** ****** *********** ** ****, *** ***** ** * finding ** ****** **** **** ****** **********, **** ****** **** instruct *** **** ***** ****** ** ******* ********* **** *** absence – “********* *** ***** ** ******** ** **** **** inference *** ********* *** **** ** ****** ********* ** ** so.”

*** *******, ******** *. ******** ******** ******­****, * ***** ******* *** *********** ******** ***** ******* ********* ** ** ***** ** ***** ***** *** ********** ******* ******** of ***** ***** ******* **, **** ****** *** ********* ***** sent * ****** ****** *** **** ** ******** **. How ** ******** **

** ** ****

****** *** ******* *********** *** *** *********** ******* "** ************ should ** **** ** **** ** ******** ** **** **** it *****’* ********* ** *******,” ** ****. ********* ************* **** different ********* *****, *** **** **’* *** ***** *** **** that ******* ** ***** ********, **’* ********* ** ******** *** review ** ** **** ** ** ******* ******* ** ********.

**** ******* *** ***** **** ****’** ***** **** *** ****


****** ********** ************* **** ***** ************ ******* **** ***** ************ to **** ** ******* ************ ** ** **, **** ** they **** ***** *** ****** ****. **** *** ** * person ** ********** **** ********** ***** **** ******** ****** *** will **** *** ** ****** ** *********.

“** ********, ***’* **** **** *** **-***** ** ****** ** it. ** ** ** ********* ****** **** *** ***** ** needs ** ** *********, **** * ************ ** **,” ** said. "*** **** **** **** *** ** ********* ****** **** went ** *** ****, **** ********** ** *** ********, **** a ****, *** ******** *** ******** ********** ******* *** ******, and ****** **** **** ****, *** *******.” **** ******* **** helps ********* ***** ** ******* *****.

** ********* **** *****, *** ************ *** * ****** ******* when **** *** ***** **** **** ***** ** **** ******* knowledgeable ***** *** ****** ** *** ******.

***** *** **** ***** ***** ** ******** ****** ************** ****** information *** *** ****** “**** ***’* **** -- *** **** reasons *** *** *** ******* -- *** **** ** *** realized ** *** ** *** ***** ** ** *** *** years,” ** ****. "** **** ****, *** ******** ** ******* overwritten, *** *** *** **** ** ******* **** * ****** claiming **** *** ********* (** ****) ******** ********."
The ***** ** *** ********* ************ ************ ******* ** ********* ****** **-****, ** ********* *******, in *** ***** ** ** ******** *********. ** ***** ** be ***** *** *** **********, ******* ** ******* ** ******* evidence, *** **’* ********* ** **** ******* *** ******** *** procedures ** **** ******* ***** ** ********, ****** ****.

“********* ** ** *** ******** ********** ** ********* ** ** management **** ****** ** ** ******** *****, *** *** **** does *** ****** ***** **** *** ***** **** ** *****, and *** ******* **** ****, *********** ** *******, ***** *********** are *** ******** **** **** *****. ********** *** **** ***** a ******* *** *** ******** ********** ** ******* *****’*," ** said.

** *** **** ********** *. ****** ******** ******* ******,*** ********* **** * ****** ****** *** ****** ** **** on ** *** *****, *** *** ***** *** ***** ********* to *** **** ********** **********. *** ***** *** ***********. *** court "******* *********’* ******­**** ****** ** *** ****** ** ********** defen­dant **** *********** ******** ** *****."

**** ********* *** ****, **’* ********* **** **** **** ******* digital ******** ********** ****** **** *** ** **** **** **** about. **** *** ********* ** ******* ***** *** ************** ****** information ** ****, *** ******* ***** ******* ** *** ********, and **** ** * ********* ******* ** ****.

Just ******* ******* ***’* ******* *****’* **** *********"If the video surveillance footage is one of multiple avenues of evidence to establish a legal position, then the likelihood of sanctions being awarded is decreased and the severity of a potential sanction decreases,” Berman said.

** *** ************ *. *** *** ******* ****, *** ********* *** **** ** ***** ***** *** ************* destroyed, *** ***** *** ****** ******** ** ***** *** **** so *** **** ******** *** "** ******* ********* ****** ** given ** ***** ******* [***] ********* **** ******* ** *** unavail­able *********," ****** ******* * ******* ** *** ****.

** ********, ** *** ************ ******* *** *** *** **** that ***** ***** *** ****, ********* ********. ********* **** *******, I ***** ****** **** ***** ****** ** ***** ******* *** the **** ******** ** * **** *** **** *** *** store “****” *** *******. ** ******** ** **** ***** ** going ** *** *** ****** *** *** ******* ** ******** and **** ** *** ******* ** **** ********.

"*** ***** ** *** **** ******** **** *** ****** ** dead, *** ***** *** ** ***** *********,” ** ****. Having ******* ****** *** ** *** ** ** **** *****

************* ****** ** ***** ** *** ******** ** ***** ************ footage. *** ******** **** ** *********, *** **** ********* ** court, ** *** **** ***** **** ****.

“** *** **** ******* ******** **** *****, *** *** ***** code ** ** *** *** **** ****** ******* * *********, you *** **** ** ****, ******* **, *** **** ******* conditions. *** ****** ** ****** ******* ******** ** **** *** can *** ** ** ******* **** ****. ** ** **** like **** *** **** ** ***** ****, *** *** **** it ** ** ****** ** *** *** ** *** ********** noise,” ** ****.

Comments (5)

So, you're in trouble if video evidence exists and you allow it to be destroyed. What if you don't have a clear policy on the length of time you retain video for? Also, I presume nothing happens if you're notified that you should be saving that video after the video has been erased, correct?

No there could still be penalties applied by the court. Even if an organization receives notification after it has been erased, if the organization knew there was evidence there, they could be found negligent. It would be up to a judge to decide to what extent they were negligent though. The policy doesn't matter much if the organization knew it had video, but let it get erased.

Storing video footage can amount to a ton of disk space use. I assume that keeping six months worth of footage would be sufficient, but the questions is, where do you draw the line? I have seen instances where software during installation, when not setup properly, can and will overwrite video footage. I have also had to on several occasions re-install software to reset threshholds for video allocation storage. If threshholds are not setup properly with some video cameras on the initail install, video allocation will overflow to other drives causing huge space issues with the CPU C-Drive, which can cause crashes and video recording to stop.

Creating a storage policy and making sure all steps are followed during the software and allocation steps of the software install are very crucial to the success of the video surveliance. It is a shame to to have something happen and not have video footage when needed due to sloppy software setup and an insuffiecient back up plan.

Rob, my read from this interview is not that one needs to store video forever to protect themselves but that they need to be proactive in exporting video for known events that may lead to litigation. It would seem harder to argue that if an event was only 'discovered' 4 months later, that a user would be responsible for not having video available then.

If I understand this, Berman recomends having someone like an integrator pull the video. What I didn't read is...to what exposure the integrator is then exposed. I can easily see where an integrator is then dragged into a court case and becomes a potential defendant due to no ill intent simply by trying to service the customer. Do I have this all wrong?

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports on Legal

Ascent / MONI Faces Lender Lawsuit and Debt Crisis on Sep 13, 2018
ASCMA, aka Ascent, aka Brinks Home Security, aka MONI, aka Monitronics is being sued by a group of their lenders who allege: As of June 30,...
France Political Scandal Reveals Video Surveillance Problems on Aug 22, 2018
In what French media describes as "the most damaging crisis yet for" French President Marcon, a political scandal has revealed major gaps in the...
SimpliSafe Violating California, Florida, and Texas Licensing Laws on Aug 14, 2018
IPVM has verified that DIY security system provider SimpliSafe, founded in 2006 and acquired in June of 2018 at a billion dollar valuation, is...
Nortek Sues SDS, Battle Over Unpaid Bill and Cancelled Lines on Aug 13, 2018
Nortek and SDS legal battle continues. As IPVM reported, SDS sued Nortek alleging bribery and antitrust violation. However, Wave fired back at SDS,...
Axis / Avigilon Legal Battle Rises on Aug 09, 2018
In what is shaping up to be high-powered, will-not-back-down battle, Axis and Avigilon are squaring off in multiple legal contests. In 2017, IPVM...
Struggling Ascent Hiding Under Brinks on Aug 07, 2018
The market cap of Brinks Home Security, Monitronics, MONI, Ascent Capital Group (whatever one calls them) is down 96% over the past 5 years as the...
US Congress Passes Bill Banning Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 02, 2018
The bill banning US government use of Dahua and Hikvision products has been passed by both chambers of Congress (House vote, Senate vote). The US...
Wave Retorts: SDS 'Desperate' And 'Defeated' on Aug 01, 2018
Distributor SDS has sued Nortek and distributor Wave Electronics alleging bribery, conspiracy, antitrust violations and violations of state laws...
US SAFETY Act Examined Amid Vegas Shooting Lawsuit on Jul 25, 2018
Creating an international controversy, MGM Resorts has sued shooting victims, despite or perhaps because the Las Vegas gunman used the MGM-owned...
Bribes Alleged, Nortek Sued For Antritrust Violation on Jul 23, 2018
A case of an unhappy distributor rival or did a manufacturer accept bribes?  Nortek Security and Control has been sued by distributor Security...

Most Recent Industry Reports

25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...
Chinese Government Praises Hikvision Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The Chinese government council responsible for managing China's state-owned companies praised Hikvision’s obedience to China’s authoritarian leader...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
European Mega Security Firm Verisure Pushing Security Fog on Sep 17, 2018
The European mega security firm Verisure (Securitas Direct), with a reported 2 million customers, is pushing security fog, as shown in this BBC...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
Favorite Intercom Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 14, 2018
Intercoms are certainly increasing in popularity, driven by the integration of video and IP networking. But who is the favorite? On the one side,...
Vivotek 4MP Camera Tested (FD8379-HV) on Sep 13, 2018
Next in our series of updated 4MP testing, we bought and tested Vivotek's FD8379-HV, and entry level 4MP model claiming "top-notch quality video in...
Ascent / MONI Faces Lender Lawsuit and Debt Crisis on Sep 13, 2018
ASCMA, aka Ascent, aka Brinks Home Security, aka MONI, aka Monitronics is being sued by a group of their lenders who allege: As of June 30,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact