Tag: FRCP 26(b)(1) Scope Defined by Relevance and Proportionality (effective Dec. 1

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Allen v. PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC (D. Md. 2021)
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Lake v. Charlotte County Board of County Commisioners (M.D. Fla. 2021)
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AnywhereCommerce, Inc. v. Ingenico, Inc. (D. Mass. 2021)
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Maurer v. Sysco Albany, LLC (N.D.N.Y. 2021)
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Aviles v. S&P Global, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2021)
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D’Agostin v. Fitness Int’l, LLC (D. Conn. May, 12, 2021)
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Boegh v. Harless (W.D. Ky. 2021)
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Hall v. Marriott Int’l, Inc. (S.D. Cal. 2021)
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In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litig. (D.D.C. May 12, 2021)
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Healthedge Software, Inc. v. Sharp Health Plan (D. Mass. 2021)

Allen v. PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC (D. Md. 2021)

Key Insight: Plaintiffs sought a protective order to prevent defendant from obtaining ESI from five different social media platforms they were active on. The court found that while a plaintiff’s social media postings could be relevant to a claim for “garden variety” emotional distress damages, some caution was necessary, such that a “deeper dive” into social media postings may be justified only in cases involving “severe and specific emotional distress” allegations. Since plaintiff alleged “garden variety” emotional distress stemming from defendant’s allegedly wrongful conduct, the discovery must be narrowed as follows: “specific references to serious, non-transient emotional distress in connection with the incidents described in their Complaint,” i.e., diagnosable conditions, visits to professionals for treatment of distress, treatment regimens and conversations regarding same; time frame limited from date contained in complaint of onset of difficulties to the date of filing of complaint; production limited to information found in a typical download of data from plaintiffs’ own accounts and plaintiffs “need not engage in extraordinary efforts in obtaining responsive information.”

Nature of Case: Employment discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Social media posts

Case Summary

Lake v. Charlotte County Board of County Commisioners (M.D. Fla. 2021)

Key Insight: Communications between a party and its hired legal consultant are work product if they are generated in anticipation of litigation. Work product containing mental impressions, conclusions, opinions, or legal theories concerning the litigation is rarely discoverable and enjoy “near absolute immunity.” Documents subpoenaed from the legal consultant still retain work product privilege.

Instead of providing privilege logs, the court allowed the legal consultants to categorically withhold or redact privileged communications so long as they provided a certification that none of withheld or redacted documents were distributed to or reviewed by any other third parties. In lieu of such certification, the legal consultants would have to produce a privilege log.

Nature of Case: Property, Eminent Domain

Electronic Data Involved: Email, Electronic Communications

Case Summary

AnywhereCommerce, Inc. v. Ingenico, Inc. (D. Mass. 2021)

Key Insight: The court granted reconsideration of plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery of documents in the possession of a corporate defendant in France. In a prior order, the court found that the GDPR did not preclude the court from ordering defendants to produce evidence, but based the order on plaintiffs’ representation that much of the requested information was located in the U.S. and therefore in the possession of domestic defendants. Thus, the court bifurcated its analysis to exclude any documents in the possession of French defendants. On reconsideration, plaintiffs claimed the important and relevant documents were located in France. Applying the factors from Restatement (Third) of Foreign Relations Law § 442(1)(c), the court found they weighed in favor of disclosure, together with the entry of a protective order that would protect France’s interests under the GDPR.

Nature of Case: Breach of contract

Electronic Data Involved: ESI generally

Case Summary

Maurer v. Sysco Albany, LLC (N.D.N.Y. 2021)

Key Insight: Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Defendants to produce electronically stored information responsive to specific keyword searches as well as predictive coding. Defendants opposed the Motion on the basis that the information sought was overbroad, and not proportional or relevant to the litigation. Defendants proposed their own electronically stored information “search protocol”.

The Court partially granted Plaintiff’s Motion, allowing specific keyword searches and search methods requested by Plaintiff. Notably, the Court granted Plaintiff’s request to utilize predictive coding in the search for electronically stored information.

Nature of Case: Wrongful Termination, Disability Discrimination

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic Documents, Emails,

Case Summary

Aviles v. S&P Global, Inc. (S.D.N.Y. 2021)

Key Insight: Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Compel to allow them unfettered access to all information located on a server. Defendant objected, claiming that Plaintiffs had no legal right to the server, and information on the server was irrelevant, confidential and/or privileged. The Court found that the request (Motion to Compel) was overbroad and premature, and denied Plaintiffs’ Motion.

Nature of Case:Fraud, Shareholder Suit, Diversity Jurisdiction

Electronic Data Involved: Hard Drive, Server,

Case Summary

D’Agostin v. Fitness Int’l, LLC (D. Conn. May, 12, 2021)

Key Insight: The scope of discovery for Plaintiff is limited to requesting information regarding accidents involving falls in locker rooms with tile surfaces in Defendant’s facilities that occurred up to five years prior to the accident giving rise to litigation. Allowing Plaintiff to expand the scope to any tiled floor(s) within Defendant’s facilities would move discovery beyond the focal point of litigation.

Nature of Case: Premises Liability

Electronic Data Involved: N/A

Case Summary

Boegh v. Harless (W.D. Ky. 2021)

Key Insight: The pro se plaintiff was ordered to produce social media (Facebook) content relating to the events at issue in the amended complaint. Based on his public Facebook posts, plaintiff commented extensively on the case and identified evidence and witnesses. Plaintiff argued that defendants already had the information from the public posts, but the court found there is a strong indication plaintiff was withholding relevant and discoverable evidence that was private in his account.

Nature of Case: Civil rights – personal injury

Electronic Data Involved: Social media

Case Summary

Hall v. Marriott Int’l, Inc. (S.D. Cal. 2021)

Key Insight: This is a putative consumer class action alleging that defendant engaged in false and deceptive advertising in the way it represents the prices for its hotel rooms, services, and amenities. The court granted plaintiff’s motion to compel, finding that the revenue data sought by plaintiffs was relevant to damages—in how damages will be ascertained and how a damages model will be provided. Additionally, discovery regarding the fees charged (including: destination, amenity, resort, destination amenity fee, wi-fi, parking, and other fees) were relevant to understand the nature of the fees and the relationship to defendant’s revenues and determine the scope of the case for settlement discussions. The court also ordered defendant to obtain the requested revenue data from franchised hotels if it has a right to access the financial data through an audit or other contractual provision with the franchisee. Policies and procedures and consumer complaints relating to the charging of fees were also ordered to be produced.

Nature of Case: Consumer Class Action

Electronic Data Involved: Financial Data

Case Summary

In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litig. (D.D.C. May 12, 2021)

Key Insight: District court rejected, in part, plaintiffs’ request for new discovery of rail-freight transaction data from defendants, the four largest railroads operating in the Unites States. Plaintiffs alleged defendants engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy to increase the price of rail-freight transport from 2003 to 2008. The court granted the request to produce 2009 data as proportional because defendants already had access to the data. The court denied the request for 2010-2012 data, finding it was not proportional at that stage in the litigation. It was not connected to the central issue in the case as to whether defendants engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy, even though it might be relevant to certain plaintiffs’ calculation of full damages.

Nature of Case: Antitrust

Electronic Data Involved: Transaction Data

Case Summary

Healthedge Software, Inc. v. Sharp Health Plan (D. Mass. 2021)

Key Insight:

Defendant filed a Motion to Compel Plaintiff to produce documents, including source code, and Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Defendant to disclose how it collected and searched its electronically stored information (ESI). The Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion while partially granting Defendant’s Motion.

A significant issue in both Motions was the respective parties’ collection of ESI. The Court noted that the parties failed “to engage in cooperative planning regarding ESI”, and directed the parties to confer regarding custodians and search terms of ESI collection and review. In partially granting Defendant’s Motion, the Court directed Plaintiff to further articulate its objections, but stated that some of Defendant’s discovery requests were premature even if Plaintiff was obligated to respond to them by the close of discovery.

Nature of Case: Breach of Contract

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic Documents, Source Code

Case Summary

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