Must a Party’s Journal Be Produced in Native Form with Metadata?

13 Oct 2014

In Perea v. Conner and State Farm, No. CIV-13-0697 KG/LAM (D.NM Sept. 26, 2014), Defendant filed a Motion to Reconsider the court’s ruling on the discovery requests for production, which denied them additional electronic data.

In dispute is a Plaintiff’s Pain Journal, submitted as a PDF that was scanned in response to the defense Request for Production (RFP). The journal contained a mix of typewritten notes and handwritten notes in three pages. After receiving the PDF Pain Journal, Defendant sought:

  1. The original digital word processing document in electronic native file format with metadata;
  2. The original digital word processing document of all entries made into the computer and recompiled into the Pain Journal in native file format with metadata;
  3. All emails containing Pain Journal entries in native format with metadata;
  4. The computers used to compile and preserve the data, made available for forensic review; and
  5. An additional deposition of Plaintiff regarding the creation of the Pain Journal.

Plaintiff responded that the original RFP and oral deposition only sought a “copy” of the Pain Journal. Further, she averred that the copy of the journal provided was a full and complete copy of the original in its entirety. She explained that the typewritten portion of the journal was her husband’s contribution, which were originally handwritten notes on scraps of paper that the husband wrote and Plaintiff then typed out. She claimed after they typed up the handwritten notes, they discarded the scraps of paper.

The court denied Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration of the ruling denying this request for additional ESI production, differentiating between the present case and case law that ordered a full journal produced. (In that comparative case, the Plaintiff admitted it only produced partial entries, unlike the present situation.)

The court noted Defendant failed to request specific ESI formatting and metadata in the initial discovery request, and therefore under Rule 34, Plaintiff’s production in PDF form was sufficient. Finally, the court noted that Defendant had no evidence of Plaintiff wrongdoing that would warrant additional digital information or a forensic investigation.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts

Did you know? Email and file metadata contains info re: title, subject, author, headers, time received, # of attachments and more!