eDiscovery Daily Blog

2016 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review, Part 2

Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Overrule Plaintiff’s Objections to Discovery Requests

As we noted yesterday, eDiscovery Daily published 74 posts related to eDiscovery case decisions and activities over the past year, covering 62 unique cases!  Yesterday, we looked back at cases related to admissibility and proportionality.  Today, let’s take a look back at cases related to cooperation, disputes about discovery, eDiscovery cost reimbursement, form of production disputes, privilege disputes and (once again) the ubiquitous Apple v. Samsung case.

We grouped those cases into common subject themes and will review them over the next few posts.  Perhaps you missed some of these?  Now is your chance to catch up!

But first, if you want to learn more about what every attorney should know about eDiscovery in 2017, click here.


Why can’t we all just get along?  There were several instances where parties couldn’t agree and had to kick issues up to the court for resolution, here are four such cases:

Withheld Evidence Leads to New Trial, Resignation of Senior City Attorney: In Colyer v. City of Chicago, Illinois District Judge Edmond E. Chang granted in part the plaintiff’s post trial motion, denying the plaintiffs’ request for a directed verdict, but granting their request for a new trial after it was discovered that the defendants’ attorney had “intentionally” withheld the recording of a police dispatcher’s description of a possible suspect that was key in determining whether Chicago police officers acted with excessive force in killing a suspect in a traffic stop.  The plaintiffs also were awarded their attorneys’ fees and costs expended on preparing for the first trial, conducting the trial itself, and conducting the post-trial discovery and briefing.

Dispute Over Adequacy of Defendant’s Production Leads to Court Ordered Meet and Confer: In Gardner et. al. v. Continental Casualty Company, Connecticut Magistrate Judge Joan Glazer Margolis, granting the plaintiff’s motion to compel in part, ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding “’sampling and iterative confinement’ or ‘quick peek protocol’ of the 38,000 documents ‘hit’ by the agreed upon search terms and notify the court in writing “about their progress, or lack thereof, on or before February 12, 2016.”

Plaintiff Must Cooperate on Search Terms, Says Court: In Pyle v. Selective Insurance Company of America, Pennsylvania Senior District Judge Terrence F. McVerry granted the defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff to Provide ESI Search Terms “insofar as it seeks to compel Plaintiff to confer and come to an agreement on the search terms Defendant will use to cull through the additional email archives that Defendant has identified as having been retrieved.”

Court Orders Defendant to Produce Additional ESI Responsive to 78 “Unopposed” Search Terms: In Venturdyne, Ltd. d/b/a Scientific Dust Collectors v. Carbonyx, Inc., d/b/a Carbonyx Carbon Technologies, et. al., Indiana District Judge John E. Martin ordered the defendant to produce additional ESI to the plaintiff to be retrieved via 78 “unopposed” search terms that neither party objected to during negotiation over the plaintiff’s original list of 126 search terms.


Here’s one case from this past year that was a general dispute about discovery:

Plaintiff’s Failure to Demonstrate Allegations Leads to Summary Judgment for Defendant: In Malibu Media, LLC v. Doe, in a case of dueling summary judgment motions, Illinois Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, but granted the defendant’s summary motion in its entirety, concluding that the plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to prove its allegations of illegally downloading movies.


This year, the two cases we covered related to eDiscovery cost reimbursement were split – sort of.  In the case where the request for eDiscovery cost reimbursement was upheld, the decision was made after the defendants conceded much of the storage and hosting costs they had claimed, leaving less costs to uphold.

Court Denies Request for Cost Reimbursement for Hosted eDiscovery Database: In Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services, et. al. v. BendTec, Inc., Minnesota District Judge Michael J. Davis found that the decision in Race Tires America, Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. to deny certain eDiscovery costs to be persuasive and ruled that “the costs of creating and maintaining an electronic platform for e-discovery are not recoverable under § 1920(4)”, denying the prevailing defendant’s request for reimbursement of over $123,000 in costs to maintain their ESI database.

Appeals Court Upholds Defendant’s Request for eDiscovery Cost Reimbursement: In Deere & Co. v. Duroc, LLC et. al., after the defendants conceded much of the storage and hosting costs they had claimed, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court ruling to uphold cost taxation requested by the defendants, including eDiscovery costs.


We had three cases this year involving production format disputes, including one that led to sanctions for the defendant for failing to produce native format data (among other violations):

Court Denies Plaintiff’s Request for Native ESI Format, Approves Request for Index: In Stormo v. City of Sioux Falls, et. al., South Dakota District Judge Karen E. Schreier, ruling on several motions, denied the plaintiff’s motion to compel with regard to requiring the defendants to provide electronically stored information in its native format and metadata for these documents, but granted it with regard to providing an index explaining information about the documents.

Court Orders Defendant to Re-Produce Selected Documents in Native Format: In Spring v. Board of Trustees of Cape Fear Community College et. al., North Carolina Magistrate Judge James E. Gates, in ruling on several discovery disputes between the parties, granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel in part, ordering the plaintiff to identify documents to be re-produced in native format and for the defendant to re-produce those documents or move for appropriate relief after conferring with plaintiff if it deemed the number of documents identified to be unjustifiably large.

Defendant Sanctioned for Failing to Preserve Text Messages and Failing to Produce Native Format Data: In First Financial Security, Inc. v. Freedom Equity Group, LLC, California Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd issued permissive adverse inference instruction sanctions against the defendant for deleting relevant text messages “with the intent to deprive” the plaintiff of the use of those text messages and for failing to produce native-format data that it was repeatedly ordered to produce.  Judge Lloyd declined to sanction the defendant for spoliation of phone records or employment applications.


As usual, there were cases where there were disputes regarding privilege designations and privilege logs.  Here are three cases:

Plaintiff Granted Documents Withheld Due to Privilege, But Denied Expanded Search of Emails: In Moore v. Lowe’s Home Ctrs., Washington District Judge Robert J. Bryan ruled in favor of the plaintiff that documents and communications dated before the defendant anticipated litigation were not privileged work product and should be produced, but he ruled against the plaintiff in her request have the defendant perform additional searches on email to identify additional relevant documents.

Court Denies Defendant’s Motion for Production of Documents for In Camera Review: In Portland Pipe Line Corp. et. al. v. City of South Portland et. al., Maine Magistrate Judge John H. Rich, III denied the defendants’ motion to compel the production of documents withheld or redacted on claims of attorney-client privilege by the plaintiff, finding that the plaintiffs “undertook a costly and labor-intensive two-step process with respect to claiming privilege as to ESI, first relying on a technologically-assisted privilege review by a hired ESI discovery vendor” and then undertaking a “painstaking manual review to verify the privileged status of every ESI document marked as privileged”.

Finding Categorical Privilege Log to Be Inadequate, Court Orders Plaintiff to Provide a Metadata Log: In Companion Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. U.S. Bank N.A., South Carolina District Judge J. Michelle Childs determined that the plaintiff’s categorical Privilege Log was inadequate and ordered the plaintiff to provide to the defendant a metadata log for all documents withheld or redacted, affidavit(s) from the person(s) with knowledge regarding the privileged third party and common interest parties and a list of anticipated litigation(s) for the documents withheld on the basis of work product protection.


The case that never dies.  Just when Apple finally thought it was going to get a great big check, the Supreme Court told the federal appeals court to try again when determining an award for patent infringement:

Supreme Court Gives Samsung an Early Christmas Present – For Now: As reported by Greg Stohr of Bloomberg Law (Supreme Court Orders New Look at Apple’s Award From Samsung), the Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion (8-0) told a federal appeals court to take another look at a $399 million award won by Apple from Samsung for copying the design of the iPhone.

Tomorrow, we will cover cases related to social media discovery, technology assisted review and the first part of the cases relating to sanctions and spoliation (yes, there were that many).  Stay tuned!

Want to take a look at cases we covered the previous five years?  Here they are:

So, what do you think?  Did you miss any of these?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.