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What Case Law is Helpful for Native File Disputes?

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Posted on May 1st, 2014

Plaintiff Electronic Discovery Information for Civil Litigation

We recently blogged about the case Sexton v. Lecavalier [1], where the parties argued whether failure to provide native file format with respect to emails stored by a third party provider was sanctionable. Read our blog post for a further discussion of the case facts and outcome; also check out our previous newsletter on native file format. While this district court decision stems from the Southern District of New York, plaintiff trial attorneys around the country looking for cases supporting native file production may want to consider the Sexton case as well as the following:

What Case Law is Relevant for Native File Formatting Disputes?

Sekisui Am. Corp. v. Hart [2] (Author of the lauded Zubulake line of cases, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin noted that metadata in native formatting has significant value as part of electronically stored information (ESI).)

Aguilar v. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Div. [3] (Endorsed load files with searchable text and metadata for PDF or TIFF files in eDiscovery.)

In Re Priceline.com Inc. Sec. Litig. [4] (Production ordered to be tendered in TIFF formatting with searchable metadata databases.)

S2 Automation LLC v. Micron Tech., Inc. [5] (Court held production must be made in either native file formatting or in the requested format.)

Keaton v. Hannum [6] (Court noted Gmail can be downloaded to Outlook and saved as an .eml or .msg files for productions.)

EEOC v. SVT, LLC d/b/a Ultra Foods [7] (In this April 2014 case, the defendant disregarded the prior agreement to produce ESI with load files, the court ordered the plaintiff computer forensics expert to explain the deficiencies to the defense. The court ordered the production must comply with the original Stipulation regarding native files.)

Need More Info about Native Files in Electronic Discovery?

The common theme arising from these cases is that it is critical to specifically request native format at the outset of discovery prior to any defense production. Waiting until after a defendant has already commenced production in a format of their choosing (typically in non-native format) before raising the issue of native files, could lead to defense arguments regarding burden and significantly hinder the ability to convince a court later on that a defendant should be required to produce new productions or re-produce prior productions in native file format.

Once native files and metadata are received, plaintiff eDiscovery software can assist civil litigants in culling, organizing and searching data to find the hot documents you need to win. Call the plaintiff electronic discovery experts for more info on this and other discovery topics, and be sure to check out our blog for the latest eDiscovery case law in these areas.


[1] No. 13 Civ. 8557(AT)(S.D.N.Y. April 11, 2014).

[2] 945 F. Supp. 2d 494 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).

[3] 255 F.R.D. 350 (S.D.N.Y. 2008).

[4] 233 F.R.D. 88 (D. Conn. 2005).

[5] 11 Civ. 884(D.N.M. Aug. 9, 2012).

[6] 12 Civ. 641 (S.D. Ind. April 29, 2013).

[7] Cause No. 2:13-CV-245-RLM-PRC (N.D. Ind. April 10, 2014).

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