Archive: August 14, 2008

1
No Spoliation Found Where Expert Drafted His Report on Computer, Without Saving or Preserving Progressive Iterations
2
Magistrate Judge “Clearly Erred” by Analyzing Cost-Shifting Dispute for Paper Production under Seven-Factor Zubulake Test

No Spoliation Found Where Expert Drafted His Report on Computer, Without Saving or Preserving Progressive Iterations

In re Teleglobe Communications Corp., 2008 WL 3198875 (Bankr. D. Del. Aug. 7, 2008)

In this lengthy opinion addressing a variety of issues, the bankruptcy judge denied defendants’ motion to exclude testimony of the plaintiff’s expert as a sanction for the alleged spoliation of information considered in forming their opinions.  The court rejected defendants’ argument that Rule 26(a)(2)(B) required that the plaintiffs’ experts produce all drafts of their reports:

The Court is not convinced that the plain language of Rule 26(a)(2)(B) imposes an obligation on a party or its experts to preserve and produce drafts of an expert’s report.  See, e.g., Berckeley Inv. Group, Ltd. v. Colkitt, 259 F.3d 135, 142 n. 7 (3d Cir. 2001) (“The Supreme Court and this Court have repeatedly held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, like any other statute, should be given their plain meaning.”).  The Rule does not expressly include draft opinions in the list of what the expert must disclose.  Instead, the Rule requires that an expert’s report contain a list of the data and other information on which he relied.  Fed. R. Civ.P . 26(a)(2)(B).  It does not seem logical that the Rule would require the final report to include a list of all the drafts of that report.  Further, because most experts now draft their reports on the computer, adding to and subtracting from the document, it would be impractical to require the production of all drafts.  For example, any time an expert added or subtracted a section, a paragraph, a sentence or even a word, the Defendants’ reading of the Rules would require the expert to save the draft and preserve it for production later.  This is a completely unworkable reading of the Rules and would mire the courts in battles over each draft of an expert’s report.  The Court concludes that this interpretation comports with neither the plain meaning of the Rule nor its policy.

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Magistrate Judge “Clearly Erred” by Analyzing Cost-Shifting Dispute for Paper Production under Seven-Factor Zubulake Test

Tierno v. Rite Aid Corp., 2008 WL 3287035 (N.D. Cal. July 31, 2008)

In this wage and hour employment case, plaintiff sought documents about class members’ employment and salary history, terminations, performance evaluations, discipline, certain communications, and personnel files.  Rite Aid had demanded that plaintiff either travel to its various district office locations throughout California and copy the documents, or pay the copying expenses, which it estimated at $104,178.84.  The dispute was presented to the magistrate judge.  After weighing the factors set out in Zubulake v. UBS Warburg, L.L.C., 217 F.R.D. 309, 322 (S.D.N.Y. 2003), the magistrate judge required Rite Aid to produce the documents at its own expense.

Rite Aid objected to the magistrate’s ruling, arguing that Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 34 requires plaintiff, not Rite Aid, to bear the costs of photocopying.  The district judge agreed, concluding that the magistrate judge had “clearly erred” by analyzing the dispute under Zubulake:

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