Plaintiffs Defeat Defendant Uber’s Objections to Litigation Hold and Data Source Production 

24 Apr 2024

A recent ruling in Jane Doe LS 340 et al. v Uber Technologies, Case No. 23-md-03084-CRB (ND CA Jan 9, 2024) addressed litigants’ obligations to disclose legal hold information and sources of electronic data. In the multi-district litigation where Plaintiffs allege that Uber failed to implement appropriate safety measures to protect its passengers, Plaintiffs successfully moved to compel information regarding Uber’s preservation and litigation hold efforts.   

Although Uber produced a list of job titles for approximately 15,700 past and present Uber employees subject to its litigation hold, its disclosure did not include the names of the employees or dates when the litigation holds were issued. In opposing Plaintiffs’ motion to compel, Uber argued that the Court’s Rule 26(f) Checklist permitted Uber to provide the “names and/or general job titles or descriptions” and that providing the details sought by Plaintiffs was privileged.   

In rejecting Uber’s argument, the Court cited numerous cases that make clear that basic details surrounding litigation holds are not protected by the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine and that the names and titles of persons notified of a litigation hold and the dates of such notifications should be disclosed. While Plaintiffs were not entitled to probe into what exactly Uber’s attorneys told the employees about the litigation hold, Plaintiffs were entitled to know what actions Uber’s employees took with respect to collecting and preserving electronic data.     

The same ruling also addressed the parties’ dispute regarding the disclosure of Uber’s data sources. Plaintiffs argued that Uber’s failure to disclose non-custodial sources, among other things, prejudiced their ability to determine whether Uber had complied with its preservation obligations. Citing the Sedona Principles and the Northern District of California’s Rule 26f checklist, the Court emphasized that the disclosure of non-custodial data sources is expected in the ordinary course of discovery and ordered Uber to disclose the sources of data it preserved when it preserved each source, when and for what purpose it used each source, and the general types of information housed or contained in each source.

Tony Chu

Senior Litigation Consultant and General Counsel