Archive: September 18, 2006

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Court Enters Preservation Order and Requires Electronic Records be Produced in the Format in which They are Stored
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Court Orders Preservation of Ohio’s 2004 Presidential Election Ballots “on Paper or in Any Other Format, Including Electronic Data”

Court Enters Preservation Order and Requires Electronic Records be Produced in the Format in which They are Stored

United Med. Supply Co., Inc. v. United States, 73 Fed. Cl. 35 (2006)

In this decision, the court issued a Document Preservation Order in light of defense counsel’s reports that several boxes of documents had been inadvertently destroyed during the pendency of the case. The court had ordered the parties to brief the issue of spoliation, and to file a joint status report proposing a document preservation order and a revised discovery schedule.

The court determined that a preservation order was appropriate, using the standard articulated in Pueblo of Laguna v. United States, 60 Fed. Cl. 133 (2004). There, the court held that it had the power to preserve evidence and issue orders in furtherance thereof under its inherent authority. It rejected the notion that the standards for the issuance of a preliminary injunction (including showing a likelihood of success on the merits) must be met before a preservation order may issue. Instead, the court found that one seeking a preservation order must show (1) that it is necessary, and (2) that it is not unduly burdensome. Id. at 138. To meet the first prong, “the proponent ordinarily must show that absent a court order, there is significant risk that relevant evidence will be lost or destroyed – a burden often met by demonstrating that the opposing party has lost or destroyed evidence in the past or has inadequate retention procedures in place.” Id. As to the latter prong, “the proponent must show that the particular steps to be adopted will be effective, but not overbroad.”
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Court Orders Preservation of Ohio’s 2004 Presidential Election Ballots “on Paper or in Any Other Format, Including Electronic Data”

King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Ass’n v. Blackwell, 448 F. Supp. 2d 876 (S.D. Ohio 2006)

Plaintiffs in this action are a collection of civic organizations and individuals that filed suit against the Secretary of State for the State of Ohio (J. Kenneth Blackwell) and various unnamed public election officials and private contractors who provided services to the State of Ohio, alleging that defendants had violated plaintiffs’ civil and constitutional rights. Plaintiffs claimed, inter alia, that during the November 2004 presidential election, “Defendants selectively and discriminatorily designed and implemented procedures for the allocation of voting machines in a manner to create a shortage in the number of machines for certain urban precincts wherein large numbers of African American voters resided.” Plaintiffs sought to enjoin Blackwell from violating plaintiffs’ constitutional rights prior to the next statewide election, in addition to other forms of relief. On the same day they filed suit, plaintiffs sent a letter to each of Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections that notified them to preserve the election ballots from the November 2004 presidential election.
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