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Court Denies Request for Production of Legal Hold Notice Issued by Defendant

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Gibson v. Ford Motor Co., 2007 WL 41954 (N.D. Ga. Jan. 4, 2007)

In this personal injury product liability case, plaintiffs sought production of the legal hold notice issued by defendant to its employees, among other categories of material. The court denied the request for the legal hold notice, concluding that it was not “reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” The court explained:

The document Plaintiffs request is simply a description of material employees were instructed not to discard. In the Court’s experience, these instructions are often, if not always, drafted by counsel, involve their work product, are often overly inclusive, and the documents they list do not necessarily bear a reasonable relationship to the issues in litigation. This is not a document relating to the Defendant’s business. Rather, the document relates exclusively to this litigation, was apparently created after this dispute arose, and exists for the sole purpose of assuring compliance with discovery that may be required in this litigation. Not only is the document likely to constitute attorney work-product, but its compelled production could dissuade other businesses from issuing such instructions in the event of litigation. Instructions like the one that appears to have been issued here insure the availability of information during litigation. Parties should be encouraged, not discouraged, to issue such directives. Defendants are not required to produce these materials.