A federal magistrate judge stopped short of issuing the harshest requested sanctions in a dispute over the deletion of electronically stored information, finding that a failure to preserve the data did not equal an ”intent to deprive” the plaintiffs of it.

According to the Jan. 19 opinion by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Coulson of the District of Maryland, consumers of a pharmaceutical company’s product, Tracleer, claimed that the manufacturer Actelion, intentionally withheld samples of the product from generic manufacturers, forcing them to pay higher prices.