Plaintiff ESI and Metadata at Issue in Sprint v. Comcast, et al.

26 May 2014

Sprint Communications, L.P. v. Comcast, et al., Case Nos. 11-2684-JWL, 11-2686-JWL (D.Kansas May 6, 2014) involved consolidated actions regarding allegations of patent infringement by multiple defendants. Comcast alleged Sprint refused to collect and produce data from 63 custodians without proper objections or privilege assertions.

Sprint argued that asking for data from 63 custodians merely because Comcast believed these people might have information to relevant affirmative defenses was overly burdensome and expensive; moreover, much of the production would be duplicative and cumulative.

However, the court rejected Sprint’s first assertion that Comcast’s request for production was overbroad. Comcast had identified a number of Sprint custodians who may have information relevant to affirmative defenses, and merely made the 63 custodians as suggestions. (The court also pointed out that in violation of an Agreed Order, Sprint did not identify relevant custodians, which is why such suggestions were made.) Sprint took the position that they would only search twelve new custodians. The court noted this number was arbitrary: Sprint must either search the requested custodians, or offer a specific explanation why searching such custodians is unnecessary.

In a separate issue, although Sprint had produced plaintiff ESI from prior litigations, Comcast asserted metadata was not included. Sprint responded to these claims that Comcast refused to agree to a reasonable discovery plan, and that there was no metadata from the prior litigation productions. Comcast, in its response, claimed it was therefore seeking “information that would have been contained in the metadata, including the custodial source of the documents.” However, as the parties had not yet attempted to work this issue out on their own, the court ordered the parties to include this dispute in the newly-scheduled meet and confer.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts