Arizona resident Jeffrey Howell learned some a hard lessons this past week. If you are being sued for copyright infringement, get a lawyer and if you are served with a lawsuit that tells you not to tamper with your hard drive, don’t go ahead and format it anyway. In an unfortunate turn of events last week, the second high profile RIAA copyright infringement case came to a screeching halt as it was revealed that the defendant Howell had tampered with the evidence. Howell uninstalled Kazaa, deleted its logs, and formatted his hard drive after receiving the lawsuit; thereby making any evidence irretrievable. The RIAA argued and the judge agreed that “The deliberate destruction… by itself, compels the conclusion that such evidence supported Plaintiffs’ case.” The case was found in favor of the RIAA and a final judgment was announced today. Howell must now cough up a mere $350 in court costs and whopping $40,500 in statutory damages. This case was notable as the RIAA was handed a big setback last April when a judge ruled that simply making a file available on a P2P network did not constitute copyright infringement. A crushing blow to the legal basis of the RIAA’s infringement cases. Too bad it had to end so badly.