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Defendant’s Objections to Plaintiff ESI Rejected by District Court

Posted on October 21st, 2013

Fed.R.Civ.P 26(b)(1) calls for a broad range of discovery. The rule permits discovery of non-privileged information relevant to any party’s claim or defense, including electronically stored information, as long as the request describes with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected.

In Viteri-Butler v. UC Hastings College of Law, Case No. CV 12-02651 PJH (KAW)(N.D.Cal, September 30, 2013), this district also has guidelines and a checklist for ESI. In the case, Plaintiff claimed Defendant’s reduction-in-force, including the elimination of Plaintiff’s position, “disproportionally affected older, disabled Hispanic workers.”  Plaintiff electronic discovery requests were sent, and Defendant objected to Requests for Production Nos. 2, 6, 15, 16 and 18 with general objections. What did the court rule for each objection?

  • Defendant objected to Plaintiff RFP 2 as ambiguous, overbroad and unduly burdensome. Court ruled for Plaintiff.
  • Defendant also objected Plaintiff RFP 6 for the same reasons. After Plaintiff clarified the time period parameters in RFP 6, the court found Plaintiff’s request was not unduly burdensome, as Defendant can mitigate its burden by following the District’s Guidelines for the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information.
  • Defendant objected to Plaintiff RFP 15 as ambiguous and not relevant, but the court found Plaintiff’s request was relevant and not ambiguous, though the court limited the time frame for RFP 15 to the same used in RFP 2 and 6.
  • Defendant objected to Plaintiff RFP 16 for the same reasons as RFP 2 and 6, and Plaintiff asserts Defendant’s privilege log was inadequate. Court rejects Defendant objections.
  • Defendant objected to Plaintiff RFP 18 for the same reasons as RFP 2, 6 and 16, but the court rejects Defendant objections given the protective order negotiated by the parties.

After overruling their objections, the court found Defendant’s privilege log deficient, inadequately identifying authors and insufficiently supporting privileges asserted. Also, the court found Defendant did not provide sufficient detail as set out in the District Guidelines and Checklist for Electronically Stored Information.

The court ordered Defendant to supplement its responses to Plaintiff’s requests for production, file the stipulated protective order, update the privilege log and update the certification of electronic searches performed. Both parties must conform to the District’s Guidelines for the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information and the Checklist Regarding Electronically Stored Information.

ILS – Plaintiff Electronic Discovery Experts

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