Eastern District of North Carolina Compels Re-Production of Certain ESI in Native File Format
Plaintiff in Spring v. Board of Trustees of Cape Fear Community College et. al., Case No. 15-00084 (E.D. N.C., Apr. 7, 2016) sued Defendants, a community college and various of its board members in their official capacity, for breach of contract as well as violations of various constitutional rights. Plaintiff was the former President of the college, and after disagreements with the board, he resigned to avoid being fired. After the case was filed and removed to federal court, the Court entered a scheduling order providing that native format versions of requested documents, with metadata, should be produced upon request by either party. Plaintiff served discovery requests upon Defendants, who did respond and also supplemented. However, Plaintiff found the responses insufficient and filed a Motion to Compel. As part of his Motion to Compel, Plaintiff sought production of electronically stored information (ESI) in native format with metadata.
Defendants responded that its initial production was not in native format, and Plaintiff had not objected. Defendants also averred that it had produced over 2,000 documents in native format with metadata and, while it would re-produce specified documents, it objected to re-producing the entire production in native format again.
The Court agreed that re-production of the entire body of documents would be unduly burdensome. It ordered Plaintiff to provide a list of items he wanted re-produced in native format by a date certain, and it also ordered that Defendant could object to the list if the number of documents requested was deemed “unjustifiably large”.