Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff seeks backup computer files during a suit alleging retaliation from his filing a harassment suit against his boss.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. All parties have a duty to produce all discoverable evidence in a case. Courts prefer the marginal utility test is deciding who should bear the burden of the costs of production. The more relevant the material, the more likely the requesting party will not have to pay for that production.
During discovery, the producing party has an obligation to search available electronic systems for the information demanded.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the defendant should be required to produce evidence that it will be costly to procure for the possibility of evidence.
Held. Yes. The court deals with several issues, first there is no requirement that all data be granted under the discovery request, second who should have to pay for that request. The court states until we know for sure what the evidence will produce the parties can not adequately argue whether the burden of production is worthless. All parties to a civil action are required to produce all discoveries that are requested unless it is protected material. In some cases one party can argue if the cost is too unduly burdensome, that the requesting party be responsible for the production of the evidence. Courts evaluate the cost of the production, the damages that are claimed and the resources available to all parties before sifting any discovery production to the requesting party under what is called the marginal utility test. The test balances how important the requested information is to the case to decide who should bear the burden. This court decided to have a test run. The Government was required to restore emails only for one employee, show how much it cost but also how much relevant evidence is produced.
Discussion. The court states there are many theories. The market economic theory of document production states that if the requesting party is responsible for the costs, that party will not ask for anything more than it needs and will solve the issue. Many people feel a person will request everything in hopes of getting just what they want. The court does not find this approach fair.