District Court Strikes Scheduling Order Provision that Shifted Costs of E-Discovery to Plaintiffs

Pipefitters Local No. 636 Pension Fund v. Mercer Human Res. Consulting, Inc., 2007 WL 2080365 (E.D. Mich. July 19, 2007)

In this brief order on plaintiffs’ objections to an amended scheduling order entered by the magistrate judge, the district court struck that portion of the amended scheduling order shifting the costs of electronic discovery to plaintiffs:

Without a motion pending, the Magistrate Judge ordered that plaintiffs would be required to pay for restoring electronic data, if such was sought by them from defendant.  Under the electronically stored information amendment to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(B), the party from whom discovery is sought must show that the information is not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost.  The court may order discovery if the requesting party shows good cause, but may specify conditions for the discovery.  Due to the lack of a record it is not apparent that the Magistrate Judge engaged in the proper analysis before shifting the cost of discovery to plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs’ motion to strike the Magistrate’s order as it pertains to the costs of electronically stored information is GRANTED.  If the same issue is raised by motion, the analysis set forth in Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(B) will control the outcome.

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