United States District Court, D. Alaska
ORDER [RE: MOTION AT DOCKET 36]
W. SEDWICK SENIOR JUDGE
docket 36 Defendant Alaska Airlines, Inc. (Defendant) filed a
motion requesting sanctions against Plaintiff Tyonna
Saensinbandit for admitted destruction of her Facebook
account, which Defendant asserts is relevant evidence in this
litigation. Plaintiff responded at docket 49, indicating that
the Facebook account had been deactivated but not deleted and
that Plaintiff has since provided the requested information.
Defendant replied at docket 55, maintaining its request for
sanctions or, alternatively, requesting that the court compel
the production of additional withheld Facebook material.
Plaintiff, with the court's permission, filed a sur-reply
at docket 58. Both parties request attorneys' fees. Oral
argument would not be of assistance to the court.
was employed by Defendant as a customer service agent on June
19, 2017. Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment on
November 17, 2017. Plaintiff, who is an African American,
advances several claims against Defendant alleging that her
treatment as an employee and her termination were the result
of racial discrimination. Prior to filing suit, Plaintiff
made a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
and received a right-to-sue letter.
complaint pleads numerous claims. Her complaint alleges a
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. It also set out claims
for racial discrimination based on a hostile work
environment, termination of her employment, disparate
treatment, and retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§§2000e, et seq. The complaint also
includes a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.
addition to the host of federal law claims, Plaintiff's
complaint includes several state law claims for
discrimination based on race in violation of AS
18.80.220(a)(1), together with a claim of retaliation in
violation of AS 18.80.220(a)(3). She pleads a claim of
discrimination based on disability in violation of AS
18.80.220(a)(1). Plaintiff alleges a claim of retaliation
based on her making a wage-and-hour complaint in violation of
state law. Plaintiff's next claim alleges a violation of
the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in her
employment contract. Finally, Plaintiff advances a claim for
the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
of 2019 Defendant sent discovery requests to Plaintiff,
including two discovery requests seeking information and
documents related to Plaintiff's Facebook records.
Specifically, Defendant made the following requests for
RFP No. 11: Please produce all emails including, but
not limited to, emails from your work and personal email
addresses, . . . as well as any messages, blog entries,
social networking entries and profiles (including, but not
limited to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat,
and Instagram), and similar documents maintained on any
computer used by you (including, but not limited to, personal
computers, laptops, iPads or other tablets, and phones) at
any time between hire and the present that refer or relate to
Alaska Airlines and/or any of its employees, or to any of the
matters alleged in your Complaint.
RFP No. 12: Please produce your complete Facebook
activity log and a complete printout of your Facebook
timeline, as visible by you, from June 19, 2017 to present.
July, Plaintiff responded to Defendant's requests. As to
the first request, she objected to the request on privacy,
relevancy, and overbreadth grounds, but then presumably
indicated that she did not have responsive
materials. As to the second request, she objected on
privacy and relevancy grounds, and then provided only the
first page of her Facebook page as it existed on May 30,
2019, with the last post being made on May 28,
objected to Plaintiff's responses, noting the perceived
deficiencies. Plaintiff did not respond, and Defendant
followed up on multiple occasions in July, August, and
September to no avail. In mid-September, Plaintiff provided
supplemental responses to other discovery requests, but not
to the Facebook-related requests.Around the closing of
discovery, on October 14, 2019, Defendant deposed Plaintiff.
During the deposition, Plaintiff indicated that she had
deactivated her Facebook account in May, shortly after
Defendant had asked for the information. She stated that
she had conversations with a former employee, Jo Wayne
Richards, about matters related to her employment and Alaska
Airlines, although she was not sure if the conversations were
through Facebook or not. She also indicated during her
deposition that she could retrieve the missing Facebook
after the deposition, Defendant filed a request for sanctions
based on spoilation of evidence. Defendant asserted that
Plaintiff admittedly deleted her Facebook account after
Defendant had made a request for such records and that