Court Orders Plaintiff to Re-Produce Emails in Correct Production Format
In AKH Company, Inc. v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Company, Case No. 13-2003 (D. Kansas, Aug. 11, 2016), Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action based upon a dispute over insurance coverage and the settlement of a trademark infringement action between Plaintiff and a third party.
During discovery, Defendant submitted 4th Request for Production that requested Plaintiff’s communications with a third party, McGladrey, who was referenced in email correspondence. Plaintiff refused to produce the requested material. Defendant sought the identity of McGladrey at a deposition, but the deponent claimed no knowledge. Thereafter, Defendant sought all documents exchanged between Plaintiff and McGladrey from 2011 – 2013. Plaintiff objected to the request on the grounds of vagueness, overbreadth, lack of relevance, and confidentiality. Ultimately, Plaintiff produced a 10-page document. Defendant argued that the Plaintiff email formatting was a copy-paste job and was not a production of original emails in date order showing how they were sent and received.
The court granted the portion of Defendant’s Motion seeking to compel more complete responses to the request, holding that Plaintiff provided no justification for the format it used and that Plaintiff’s argument about relevance was moot, since it did produce the information, albeit in a poor format.
The court further noted that it had sanctioned Plaintiff already in the case on a number of occasions for discovery violations. Here, Defendant sought more sanctions because Plaintiff 1) falsely denied ownership of a relevant website, 2) destroyed or deleted responsive documents, 3) interfered with Defendant’s ability to obtain documents from third parties, 4) delaying production of materials and 5) refusing to answer questions about its document retention and production policies. However, the court declined to issue sanctions and merely ordered Plaintiff to produce the McGladrey emails in proper format.