Defendant Compelled to Perform Further ESI Production Using 78 Additional Search Terms
In Venturdyne, Ltd. d/b/a Scientific Dust Collectors v. Carbonyx, Inc., d/b/a Carbonyx Carbon Technologies, et. al., Case No. 14-00351 (N.D. Ind., Nov. 15, 2016), a cause of action was included against Defendant Carbonyx for breach of contract. During discovery, Plaintiff served Carbonyx with a request for production of documents. Defendant objected on the grounds of relevance and overbreadth and refused to produce anything requested. The parties conferred through counsel, and Defendant turned over samples of emails related to the case to help determine keywords to use to narrow the production scope. Plaintiff then submitted a revised document request as well as a list of 126 keywords to use in producing responsive documents. The parties tussled over the search terms, and counsel for Defendant stopped responding to emails from counsel for Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel.
The court noted that while keyword searches are long-recognized as appropriate and helpful for retrieving ESI, they also can result in false positives and false negatives, and require cooperation between the parties. Carbonyx asserted that it had already produced more than 12,000 pages of documents after an ESI search for the terms “scientific dust collectors” and “scientific”. The court determined that Defendant likely had other relevant documents in its possession that these two search terms would not have found, including documents that had nothing to do with Plaintiff. The court found that Defendant failed to meet its burden of showing that plaintiffs search term requests were inappropriate. Prior to Carbonyx’s counsel cuttting off the meet and confer process, Carbonyx had not objected to 78 0ut of the the 126 search terms proposed by Plaintiffs. The court ruled that these 78 search terms be used by Carbonyx to perform a further document search and production to Plaintiff.