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Court Allows Use of Electronic Documents at Trial Despite Late Disclosure

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Klyuch v. Freightmasters, Inc., 2005 WL 318786 (D.Minn. Feb. 9, 2005)

In this employment discrimination case, the defendant sought to amend its trial exhibit list to include three recently discovered electronic documents which it contended were “germane to the outstanding issues” set to be tried. The defendant provided the documents to opposing counsel as soon as it discovered them, and the court found that there was no evidence of bad faith on behalf of the defendant. The plaintiff argued that the late disclosure was unduly prejudicial.

The court acknowledged the untimeliness of the disclosure, but found that the probative value of the evidence outweighed any prejudice to the plaintiff. Granting the motion, the court noted that the issues for trial focused on the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff’s termination, and that the subject documents were “at the heart of this issue.” It further noted that plaintiff would have an “opportunity at trial to examine witnesses as to both the authenticity and content of these documents.”

In addition, the court rejected the plaintiff’s contention that a forensic examination of the defendant’s computer system was necessary to ensure that the defendant had disclosed all relevant documents related to the newly disclosed evidence. Instead, the court ordered the defendant to produce any other documents that pertained or related to the recently produced documents.