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I Never Met-a-data I Didn’t Want to Collect – Case Law Update

In a case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, the court largely rejected the defendants’ arguments to avoid supplementation to their discovery production, and granted in part the plaintiff’s motions to compel.

September 12, 2023 — by Joe Tate, Member and Managing Director, and Nicole Gill, Counsel, CODISCOVR

In a case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, the court largely rejected the defendants’ arguments to avoid supplementation to their discovery production, and granted in part the plaintiff’s motions to compel. In particular, the court ordered the defendants to supply “complete and accurate metadata” for a subset of documents, finding that their failure to do so in their original production fell short of their obligations under the discovery order in the case.

We offer a full array of forensic tools to assist with ESI collections to ensure our clients’ productions are made in a forensically sound and defensible manner.

Hoehl Family Foundation v. Roberts, et al., No. 5:19-cv-00229, 2023 WL 3271517 (D. Vt. Apr. 13, 2023) concerns a family foundation which sued its investment managers for allegedly funneling millions of dollars in foundation funds to investments in a struggling sports equipment company in which the managers had a financial interest. The foundation filed motions to compel accusing the defendants of delaying, obfuscating, and obstructing the discovery process. The court largely agreed with the foundation, granting most of its requests for production.

One issue raised by the foundation was the investment managers’ failure to provide metadata for certain documents in the production. The defendants asserted in a discovery conference that the metadata had inadvertently been stripped when they moved the documents to new folders in order to transmit them to their counsel for document review prior to production. Although the defendants eventually conceded to provide a spreadsheet with “file path” metadata to the foundation, the foundation argued this was insufficient to solve the problem because the spreadsheet lacked other metadata fields such as author, date created, and date modified. The court agreed with the foundation, finding that “[b]y failing to produce documents with complete and accurate metadata, Defendants fell short of their discovery obligations” under the discovery order in the case. The defendants were ordered to supply full metadata for a subset of documents requested by the plaintiff. The court acknowledged that this would create a burden on the defendants, but said any burden was “a function of the way in which the defendants chose to respond to the RFPs in the first place.”

 


 

Joe Tate
Joe A. Tate, Jr., Member and Managing Director of CODISCOVR, focuses his practice on eDiscovery, information governance, and data management issues in the context of litigation and investigations. In his role, Joe is responsible for the day-to-day management of a team of attorneys and technologists that handle all phases of the eDiscovery lifecycle. Connect with Joe →
Nicole Gill
Nicole Gill, Counsel at CODISCOVR, concentrates her practice on electronic discovery in a variety of contexts, manages complex document review workflows, and routinely navigates data and privacy protection laws across many jurisdictions, both domestic and foreign. Nicole also implements quality control procedures to mitigate risk and counsels both clients and colleagues on issues related to eDiscovery, information governance and data management. Connect with Nicole →

 


CODISCOVR, an ancillary business unit of Cozen O'Connor, sits at the intersection of law and technology.  We combine cutting-edge technological savvy with an immense amount of hands-on trial experience to manage the entire life cycle of the eDiscovery practice. Learn more

 

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