Court Denies Motion to Compel Production from Backup Tapes

In re Gen. Instrument Corp. Sec. Litig., 1999 WL 1072507 (N.D.Ill. Nov. 18, 1999)

Court denied plaintiffs’ motion to compel production of email from backup tapes, despite also finding that restoration of tapes could be done without undue expense.

The court finds that the burden on defendants would be significant. It does appear to the court that the requested documents could be retrieved from the backup tapes without undue expense. Nevertheless, the technical matter of retrieving the documents from the backup tapes would be just the start of the process. Defense counsel would then have to read each e-mail, assess whether the e-mail was responsive, and then determine whether the e-mail contained privileged information. Given that the volume of e-mail at issue here is potentially very large, the court finds that the burden of reviewing the requested documents would be heavy. The court further notes that expert discovery is beginning. Forcing defense counsel to engage in document review would necessarily distract their energies from the other parts of this ongoing litigation.

In weighing the burden of the requested discovery against its likely benefit, the court finds that the burden outweighs the benefit and that the plaintiffs’ motion should therefore be denied.

1999 WL 1072507, at *6. The court emphasized that the plaintiffs had not identified any specific factual issue for which they believed the requested documents would be necessary. It also noted that plaintiffs had already indicated to the court that they were done with discovery. The court indicated it would be willing to reconsider the plaintiffs’ request if the plaintiffs indicated the specific factual issue or issue for which they in good faith reasonably believe the requested documents are necessary. Id.

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