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Magistrate Allows Inspection of Plaintiff’s Computer Where Many Financial Records Were Missing from Paper Production

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Ukiah Auto. Invs. v. Mitsubishi Motors of N. Am., Inc., 2006 WL 1348562 (N.D. Cal. May 17, 2006)

In this brief order, the magistrate judge ruled on the parties’ discovery disputes, including Mitsubishi’s request for an order permitting it to inspect the computer used to record Ukiah’s business transactions. Although Ukiah claimed that it had produced all relevant documents from the computer in paper form, Mitsubishi argued that this was insufficient because many financial statements were missing. Ukiah further claimed that the computer was no longer operational. Ukiah requested that any inspection be conducted by a neutral at Mitsubishi’s expense.

The court concluded that an inspection of the computer was appropriate. It ruled that, unless Ukiah was able to produce the relevant documents in electronic form on its own, Ukiah would be required to produce the computer to an agreed-upon neutral inspector within 30 days from the date of the order. The magistrate further ruled that any expenses would be borne by Ukiah.