Good Cause Existed To Require Defendants To Search for Relevant Documents Outside Its ESI System Of Record
- ILS Team
In Wiggins v. Bank of Am., N.A., Civil Action 2:19-cv-3223 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 4, 2020), the parties disputed, among others, the sufficiency of Defendants’ production from its Documentum ESI repository.
The case arose from Plaintiff’s challenges to Defendants’ policy of assessing overdraft fees on its customers. As part of discovery, Defendants produced a limited number of documents regarding its decision-making process from Documentum, a repository that purportedly contained ESI from Defendants’ committees that considered its various policies and procedures related to the assessment of overdraft fees. Plaintiff claimed that Defendants failed to conduct a diligent search outside of Documentum for documents responsive to several of Plaintiff’s RFPs and subsequently moved to compel.
Defendants asserted that they were not required to produce the documents outside of Documentum because the parties’ ESI protocol did not require them to do so. The ESI protocol provided that:
“Except upon a showing of good cause, where a discovery request seeks information that is contained in a system of record, the producing party may search only that system of record. A system of record for purposes of this Order is the source of data for a given piece of information that is authoritative with respect to the producing party’s business processes.”
According to Defendants, they produced all relevant documents from their system of record, Documentum, and, therefore, did not need to conduct any additional searches.
The Court found two problems with that argument. First, Defendants did not provide a substantive explanation of Documentum or any evidence that Documentum was in fact the system of record for the relevant information. Second, even assuming that Documentum was the system of record for the relevant information, the Court held that a party can still be compelled to search sources other than the system of record upon a showing of good cause and given Defendants’ limited production from Documentum in response to Plaintiff’s RFPs, the Court found that good cause existed to authorize a reasonable search outside of Documentum and ordered the parties to meet and confer on the scope of a reasonable search.