After In Camera Review, Magistrate Rules Only Select Plaintiff Email Chains be Produced
One theme that has emerged in electronic discovery disputes is that courts do not look favorably on general objections to either defendant or plaintiff ESI requests. Parties must make specific, pointed objections to numbered requests to have the best chance at having the judge rule in their favor.
For a recent case example, see in Commercial Law Corp v. FDIC, Case No. 10-13275 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 27, 2013). In this case, Magistrate conducted an in camera review of 597 emails, provided by Plaintiff’s internet service provider pursuant to an amended court order. Plaintiff objected to the production of every email provided. Noting that many of Plaintiff’s relevance objections are well-taken, the magistrate did suggest that a blanket objection by Plaintiff might be taken as an effort to improperly conceal relevant evidence (which of course was not the case, but this served as a warning that general objections may not be the best strategy).
The Magistrate found that only 24 emails out of 597 were relevant under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 and rejected Plaintiff’s relevance objection for only these few. In addition, nine emails objected to on the basis of attorney-client privilege were discoverable. Plaintiff was ordered to produce the 33 emails, and Plaintiff must produce the entire email chain if any of the 33 emails falls within an email chain.