Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Compel Turnover of Examination of iPad
In Rocket Real Estate, LLC et. al. v. Maestres, Case No. 15-62488 (S.D. Fla., Aug. 24, 2016), Plaintiffs began doing business with Defendant to purchase and re-sell distressed properties. Plaintiffs bought a property and renovated it, and Defendant moved into the property. Defendant refused to sell the property or to pay for it, and then began to access Plaintiffs’ emails through Apple iCloud despite Plaintiffs’ repeated password changes. Plaintiffs sued Defendant under the Stored Communications Act and for breach of contract, constructive trust, and imposition of an equitable lien. The animosity between the parties caused numerous discovery disputes culminating in Defendant filing a motion to compel Plaintiffs to produce an iPad for forensic examination by an IT expert to extract metadata from a document produced during discovery. Defendant alleged that Plaintiffs modified the document after litigation commenced. She also sought to locate certain emails related to the password changes Plaintiffs made to their accounts.
The court denied Defendant’s request for a forensic examination of the iPad, noting that Defendant had not first requested it under FRCP 34 and could not use a motion to compel inspection without an initial proper request. The court further noted that Defendant’s motion was not timely because Plaintiffs had produced the documents more than six months before. Finally, the court determined that the request did not comply with FRCP 26(a)(2)(D)’s proportionality requirements.