Court Approves Proposal to Redact or Withhold Irrelevant Information from Responsive Documents and Document Families

In re Takata Airbag Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2599 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 1, 2016)

In this opinion, the District Court considered Defendants’ proposal to redact or withhold certain irrelevant information from responsive documents and document families. In approving the proposal, the court cited Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent comments that recently amended Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 “crystalizes the concept of reasonable limits on discovery through increased reliance on the common-sense concept of proportionality.” Reasoning that such comments “highlight” that “a party is not entitled to receive every piece of relevant information,” the court concluded that “it [was] only logical” that “a party is similarly not entitled to received every piece of irrelevant information in responsive documents if the producing party has a persuasive reason for why such information should be withheld.”

Previously, a Special Master approved Defendants’ proposal to redact or withhold certain irrelevant information from responsive documents and document families and identified seven categories of information “deemed irrelevant.” Upon de novo review of that decision, the District Court also concluded that Defendants’ proposal was appropriate, identifying as the requisite “persuasive reason” the danger of providing competitors with “competitively sensitive information to the ultimate detriment of each Defendant.”  Concerned that the seven enumerated categories of non-responsive information “could contain highly relevant information,” however, the court modified them to better ensure that no relevant information was withheld.

A copy of the court’s order is available here.

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