Court Denies Discovery of Email System Based on Mere Speculation of Email Alterations

Stallings-Daniel v. N. Trust Co., 2002 WL 385566, 52 Fed.R.Serv.3d 1406 (N.D. Ill. 2002)

Employment discrimination plaintiff sought reconsideration of court’s order denying her use of an expert “to conduct so-called ‘electronic discovery’ of [defendant’s] e-mail system.” 2002 WL 385566, at *1. Materials had been produced by the defendant in hard copy form.

The court described plaintiff’s requested discovery as follows:

Plaintiff wishes to conduct electronic discovery on four specific documents: promotion lists, an e-mail concerning a performance review update discussion between the plaintiff and her supervisor, a memo discussing plaintiff’s reaction to the update discussion, and the ‘predicate’ for that memo, by which we assume the plaintiff means the request from another of plaintiff’s supervisors for information about plaintiff’s review.

The court denied plaintiff’s request, concluding that none of the evidence supported her speculations about missing or altered documents. “Nothing in the documents produced justifies an intrusive and wholly speculative electronic investigation into defendant’s e-mail files.” Id.

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