Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Is moving potentially relevant data to backup sanctionable?

Posted by rjbiii on September 11, 2007

Is it appropriate to sanction a party who converts data which may be relevant to a litigation to an “inaccessible” format? Maybe.

Court declined to sanction a plaintiff for converting data from an accessible to an inaccessible format, because a party is free to preserve electronic evidence in any format it chooses, including inaccessible formats. Thus, preservation of data, even in an inaccessible form, will not result in spoliation b/c the responding party will be able to produce the electronic evidence by restoring it from an inaccessible format, albeit at a higher cost. Quinby v. WESTLB AG, 2006 WL 2597900 (S.D.N.Y 2006).

However, another court found that “permitting the downgrading of data to a less accessible form-which systematically hinders future discovery by making the recovery of the information more costly and burdensome-is a violation of the preservation obligation. Id. (quoting Treppel v. Biovail Corp., 233 F.R.D. 363, 372 n. 4 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).

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