Post Process

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Archive for July 19th, 2008

Case Blurb: Cason-Merenda; Cost-Shifting Motions Should be Brought before Production, not After

Posted by rjbiii on July 19, 2008

I am persuaded that the instant motion [to allocate 50% of Producing Party’s cost to Requesting Party] is untimely in two respects. First, the courts Scheduling Order of April 23, 2007 provides, in pertinent part, that “[a]ll motions … for protective orders … must be filed within 14 days of receipt or notice of such disputed discovery.” Second, the provisions of Fed.R .Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(B) and 26(c) plainly contemplate that a motion for protective relief (including cost shifting) is to be brought before the court in advance of the undue burden, cost or expense from which protection is sought.
[…]
The Rule [26(b)(2)(B)], if it is to be sensible and useful, must be read as a means of avoiding undue burden or cost, rather than simply distributing it. Indeed, Fed.R.Civ.P. 1 provides that the Rules are to be “construed and administered to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” (Emphasis added).

This interpretation is further reinforced by Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b) (2)(C)(iii) which provides that the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by the rules if it determines that “the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the party’s resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues.” (Emphasis added). Again the clear objective is the avoidance of undue cost rather than merely the apportionment of it.
[…]
On the theory that the information in question was not inaccessible within the meaning of Rule 26(b), [Requesting Party] invokes the court’s broad authority to protect a party from “undue burden or expense” under Rule 26(c).
[…]
The rule provides, in pertinent part, that “[t]he court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from … undue burden or expense, including one or more of the following:
(A) Forbidding the disclosure or discovery;
(B) Specifying terms, including time and place, for the disclosure or discovery;
(C) Prescribing a discovery method other than the one selected by the party seeking discovery;
(D) Forbidding inquiry into certain matters, or limiting the scope of disclosure or discovery to certain matters;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). The clear import of the language employed is that the court has wide discretion to prevent undue burden or expense.

Cason-Merenda v. Detroit Med. Ctr., 2008 WL 2714239 (E.D. Mich. July 7, 2008 )

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Posted in 6th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Cost Shifting, E.D. Mich., Magistrate Judge Donald A. Scheer, Undue burden or cost | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.; Elements for Spoliation as a Cause of Action in Ohio

Posted by rjbiii on July 19, 2008

In Ohio, the elements of a spoliation claim [i.e., a claim for interference with or destruction of evidence] are:
(1) pending or probable litigation involving the plaintiff, (2) knowledge on the part of defendant that litigation exists or is probable, (3) willful destruction of evidence by defendant designed to disrupt the plaintiff’s case, (4) disruption of the plaintiff’s case, and (5) damages proximately caused by the defendant’s acts.

Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc. v. Chrysler Motors Co., LLC, 2008 WL 2704859 (N.D. Ohio July 7, 2008 )

Posted in 6th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Judge James G. Carr, N.D. Ohio, Spoliation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc.; Failure to Implement Lit Hold not an element of Ohio Spoliation Cause of Action

Posted by rjbiii on July 19, 2008

First, I agree with Chrysler that failure to implement a litigation hold is not an element of a spoliation claim. Nor, in my view, would such implementation be an affirmative defense to such a claim. While whether a party implemented or failed to implement an implementation hold, or whether its directive to its employees was comprehensive and sufficient might be evidence of culpable intent, no liability results simply from either failure to implement a litigation hold or defects in its scope and substance.

In this case, to be sure, a jury could find that no litigation hold was in place for the year between Chrysler’s initial awareness of possible litigation and filing of this suit. But that, alone, is not sufficient to impose liability on Chrysler for spoliation of evidence. A jury might also conclude, if it credited Schmidt’s version of the insufficiency, that the litigation hold, whatever it was, was not sufficiently specific and comprehensive to ensure retrieval and retention of pertinent data. But on the basis of the present record, that’s a decision for the jury, and not for me to make by granting Schmidt’s motion for summary judgment.

Ed Schmidt Pontiac-GMC Truck, Inc. v. Chrysler Motors Co., LLC, 2008 WL 2704859 (N.D. Ohio July 7, 2008 )

Posted in 6th Circuit, Case Blurbs, Judge James G. Carr, N.D. Ohio, Ohio, Spoliation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »