Spoliation is the destruction of evidence so that it will not be available to a person during a lawsuit. Spoliation is most common in medical malpractice cases because in these cases the evidence that is most useful to the patient is in the possession of the doctor, that is a patient who wants to sue a doctor for negligence must use the medical records written by the doctor they are suing. It is very easy for a doctor to either destroy or alter these records before turning them over to a patient.
Currently in New York one cannot sue a person who destroys evidence and there is a lot of debate in the legal community as to whether or not this is right. There is some relief for people who are the victims of spoliation. Generally at trial if evidence is not available because it has been destroyed, the Judge will instruct the jury to assume that the destroyed evidence would have worked against the case of the person who destroyed the evidence.