Disputed eDiscovery in Civil RICO Suit Frustrates Court
In Loop AI Labs, Inc. v. Gatti et. al., Case No. 15-00798 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 10, 2016), Plaintiff sued Defendant Gatti, its former CEO, for taking a job at Defendant Almawave USA, Inc. while still employed by Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s complaint accuses Defendants of conspiring to steal its trade secrets in contravention of RICO. The parties engaged in several contentious litigation battles, including disputed eDiscovery. Defendant Almawave filed a motion to compel further discovery responses from Plaintiff, and at a hearing on that issue, the court ordered the parties to write a joint discovery letter regarding the motion to compel. Unable to draft a joint letter, the parties were unable to put the letter together jointly, so the court permitted them to submit separate letters.
The court, clearly frustrated by the parties’ conduct, noted that the parties’ discovery conduct had been so poor throughout the case that it had wasted the court’s resources. After reviewing the letters from the parties, the court concluded that Plaintiff did not need to provide further responses to the request for production, as Defendants had not submitted a reason for why additional responses were necessary. The court also compelled Plaintiff to respond to certain interrogatories and to produce certain witnesses for deposition. With respect to electronic discovery, the court noted that Plaintiff had produced its documents through an online application, which prevented the other parties from downloading the documents in batches and which also did not include metadata for any of the documents. The court held that this method of producing documents was unreasonably restrictive and ordered Plaintiff to produce its documents in searchable format either on disk or in Dropbox. The court also required Plaintiff to produce its emails with all pertinent information, such as To:, From:, and CC: and to indicate whether the documents were attachments or stand-alone documents.