What started out as a run-of-the-mill suit among former business partners has become a test case of the obligation to preserve e-mails and other electronic data that may become relevant to litigation.

Plaintiff Joseph DeSantis contends that his former partners destroyed computer hard drives and other electronic evidence that would have supported his suit. He is seeking reconsideration of an Ocean County, N.J., judge’s denial of his motion to impose sanctions on the defendants.