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Court Orders Parties to Propose New Methods of Organizing Defendant Document Production

Posted on February 12th, 2016

In Perez et. al. v. United States, et. al., Case No. 13-1417 (S.D. Cal., Jan. 25, 2016), federal government Defendants produced 7GB of documents on two DVDs. Plaintiffs, the widow and minor children of a Mexican citizen shot in the head by a border patrol agent, requested that Defendants identify to which of Plaintiffs’ requests for production each document responded.

The documents included email correspondence and information regarding the training of the border patrol officers involved in the shooting. Defendants argued that they had produced documents in the ordinary course of business in accordance with FRCP 34. Defendants also argued that Plaintiffs’ requests were overbroad and overlapping, making categorizing the documents based upon responsiveness to the requests “extremely burdensome.”

The court considered FRCP 34, and its requirement that parties must either “produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request.”  The court found that the government could be considered a commercial enterprise and thus that the document were kept in the ordinary course of “business” and produced properly. The court, however, did agree with Plaintiffs that Defendants could have done more to organize the production. Accordingly, the court granted Plaintiffs’ request in part and denied it in part, holding that Defendants did not have to submit the production categorized by Plaintiffs’ requests as that would be extremely burdensome, but that the court would entertain ideas from the parties about how Defendants could better organize the documents.

ILS – Plaintiff ESI Experts

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