Court Orders Metadata and TIFF Format Production in Putative Class Action

22 May 2015

In the putative class action case Wilson v. Conair Corp. et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-00894-WBS-SAB (E.D.Cal. April 30, 2015), Plaintiff alleged violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, unfair competition, and breach of implied warranty related to a defective curling iron power cord that set off sparks that burned Plaintiff’s eye, face, and chest.

Plaintiff propounded ESI requests that requested native file format, or in the alternative, TIFF format with metadata.  Defendants produced a portion of the ESI in PDF format without metadata, although they agreed to produce the remainder of the ESI in TIFF format (but not to reproduce the PDF production).  Defendants refused to produce the files in native format on the grounds that the native format contained  a proprietary, third-party “STARS” format.

The court considered whether to order Defendants to produce the metadata for the PDF production. Citing case law holding that “when the potential relevance of metadata is not questioned, then it is discoverable,” the court ruled Defendants must produce to Plaintiff the missing metadata associated with the already-produced PDF files, and ordered that Defendant comply with their agreement to produce all future productions in TIFF format with metadata.

ILS – Plaintiff Electronic Discovery Experts