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Case Summary: Ponca Tribe Indians; Discovery Request for data in a proprietary format denied

Posted by rjbiii on September 11, 2007

In a case concerning numerous allegations concerning the operation of a carbon black production plant, the court determined that the discovery request of all data maintained by an application named the “Data Historian” imposed an undue burden on the producing party, and was overly broad. Producing party had established its right to object by demonstrating that the expense of providing the information sought outweighed any benefit it might provide requesting party, while the requesting party failed to put forward a sufficient argument their need for the information within the data historian outweighed the burden of production.

The data historian, a proprietary software package not licensed to the requesting party, recorded data from 719 data points in one minute increments. Requesting party had refused producing party’s suggestion the requesting party could, using a key provided by producing party, identify specific data points to review, thereby “greatly reducing the volume of information sought.” Likewise, the requesting party refused to narrow their search by identifying relevant time and date periods, as suggested by the producing party. Requesting party argued that using these narrowing techniques wasn’t feasible, but they “offered no evidence demonstrating the basis for this conclusion.” Therefore, requesting party’s request to image or download the data base from the data historian was denied. However, to the extent that the requesting party express a willingness to purchase the necessary software and pay for the necessary programming, and post a bond suggested by producing party, the court will revisit the issue should the parties still be unable to agree on their own. The Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma v. Continental Carbon Co., 2006 WL 2927878 (W.D. Okla. Oct. 11, 2006).

Posted in 10th Circuit, Case Summary, Discovery Requests, Duty to Produce, Judge Robin J. Cauthron, Scope of Discovery, Undue burden or cost | Leave a Comment »