Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Case Blurb: Zubulake I; Initial considerations of cost-shifting

Posted by rjbiii on September 26, 2007

Courts must remember that cost-shifting may effectively end discovery, especially when private parties are engaged in litigation with large corporations. As large companies increasingly move to entirely paper-free environments, the frequent use of cost-shifting will have the effect of crippling discovery in discrimination and retaliation cases. This will both undermine the “strong public policy favor[ing] resolving disputes on their merits,” and may ultimately deter the filing of potentially meritorious claims. Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, 217 F.R.D. 309, 317-18 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (quoting Pecarsky v. Galaxiworld.com, Inc., 249 F.3d 167, 172 (2d Cir.2001)).

Thus, cost-shifting should be considered only when electronic discovery imposes an “undue burden or expense” on the responding party. The burden or expense of discovery is, in turn, “undue” when it “outweighs its likely benefit, taking into account the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties’ resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the litigation, and the importance of the proposed discovery in resolving the issues.” Id. (citations omitted).

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