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Plaintiff’s Continued Disputes with Curling Iron Manufacturer Getting Hairy: eDiscovery Case Law

In Wilson v. Conair Corp., 1:14-cv-00894-WBS-SAB (E.D. Cal. Aug. 17, 2015), California Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone denied the plaintiff’s motion for the Court to establish dates by which the defendant must produce ESI and ordered the parties to meet and confer (again), warning that if the parties could not reach a resolution, all counsel would be required to personally appear before the court and be prepared to engage in an extended, court-supervised meet and confer session that could require an all-day appearance.

Case Background

In this product liability class action, the plaintiff previously filed a motion to compel which was granted in part and denied in part on April 30, in which the defendant was ordered to produce further ESI in native format if feasible or TIFF format with the associated metadata, as well as to produce associated metadata for its prior production if it had not already done so.  In addition, the plaintiff also filed a motion to compel production of “all Products returned to Conair for problems related to sparking, flashing, popping, fires, or any line cord failure or malfunction” for testing.  Judge Boone denied that motion since the action was “still in the pre-class certification stage of discovery”.

In the joint statement, the plaintiff included a motion to compel production of discovery granted in the Court’s prior order, seeking to have the Court establish dates by which Defendant must produce e-mails and additional consumer complaints.  The defendant objected, contending that the plaintiff added this second motion to compel after the joint statement had been approved by the defendant and without providing the defendant with an opportunity to address the motion.

Judge’s Ruling

Agreeing with the defendant, Judge Boone denied the plaintiff’s motion for the Court to establish dates by which Defendant must produce ESI discovery, stating that the “parties are ordered to meet and confer in an attempt to establish the appropriate scope of the discovery requested and an acceptable timeline for Defendant to produce documents responsive to discovery requests”.

To provide a little motivation for a cooperative meet and confer session, Judge Boone added this:

“The parties have shown that meet and confer efforts in this action have not been successful in resolving these disputes and each assert it is due to the fault of the other party. Due to the parties’ inability to meet and confer and resolve these issues, the parties are advised that the personal appearance of all counsel shall be required for any further motion to compel that is filed with the Court. The parties are encouraged to work together during meet and confer sessions prior to any scheduled hearing. However, if a resolution is not reached prior to the scheduled hearing, the parties shall be required to personally appear and should plan to engage in an extended meet and confer session with the assistance of the Court which could require an all-day appearance on the day of the scheduled hearing.”

So, what do you think?  Should more courts propose to preside over meet and confer sessions?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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