Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Compel Production of Documents and Metadata: eDiscovery Case Law
Yes, it’s that time of year! Time for another Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, which means only one thing – it’s time for Case Week on the eDiscovery Channel (a.k.a., eDiscovery Daily). That means a week full of case law, with our webcast on Wednesday regarding Key eDiscovery Case Law Review for First Half of 2019 in between! Here’s the first case of Case Week!
In Washington v. GEO Group, Inc., No. 17-5806 RJB (W.D. Wash. July 1, 2019), Washington District Judge Robert J. Bryan denied the defendant’s Motion to Compel Production of Documents and Metadata, ruling that the defendant “fails to identify a specific response for production to which the State did not respond”, that the defendant “has not shown that the [metadata] is relevant and proportional to the needs of the case” and that the “the parties have not met and conferred as to this recent log as required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1).”
In this unjust enrichment case filed by the State of Washington against a private corporation that operates a detention facility, the defendant filed a motion in August 2018 for an order compelling the State to produce information from various State agencies related to State work programs, maintaining that the information was “extremely relevant to GEO’s affirmative defenses of unclean hands and laches.” The State opposed the motion, arguing that the State Agencies were not parties to the case and that the State agencies were better positioned to respond themselves. In October 2018, the defendant’s motion to compel was granted.
Subsequently, the defendant moved for an order compelling the State to produce: 1) relevant information from all agencies for (a) the State’s use of work programs at its correctional or rehabilitation facilities, including why it pays some (but not all) work program participants market wages, whether the participants are volunteers, the hours worked, duties performed, and pay rates for participants, and the State’s use of contractors to assist in the operation of work programs and (b) the State’s assessment of federal and/or state law as it relates to the operation of work program; 2) accurate and complete metadata for all of its productions, including custodian and author information, dates of creation and modification, and file path without modification; and 3) logged documents on the common interest privilege log that are missing date, author, sender, recipient, or subject matter information and communications between third parties for which no basis for common interest privilege exists.
Regarding the motion to compel documents regarding work programs, Judge Bryan stated: “GEO’s motion to compel documents regarding the work programs should be denied. The State argues that it reviewed thousands of pages of discovery from five agencies and produced hundreds of pages responsive to the requests for production. GEO fails to identify a specific response for production to which the State did not respond. In its reply, it identifies ‘discovery categories’ and then collectively cites 17 requests for production that it asserts applies. This is not sufficient and the motion should be denied.”
Regarding the motion to compel accurate metadata, Judge Bryan stated: “GEO’s motion for an order compelling the State to produce accurate metadata should be denied. The State indicates that it has complied with the October 2, 2018 Order to the extent that it was able, particularly as it relates to the custodians. Further, GEO has not shown that the information is relevant and proportional to the needs of the case.”
Regarding the motion to compel related to common privilege log, Judge Bryan stated: “GEO’s motion to compel either an updated common privilege log or the documents for which the State has failed to meet its burden should be denied. The State has now produced an updated log. Moreover, it appears that the parties have not met and conferred as to this recent log as required under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1).”
As a result, Judge Bryan denied the defendant’s motion to compel.
So, what do you think? Should the motion to compel have been denied? Please let us know if any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Case opinion link courtesy of eDiscovery Assistant.
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