SNDY Denies Forensic Examination of Email and Documents

22 Jun 2015

The Southern District of New York considered a pro se Plaintiff’s motion requesting a forensic examination of Defendant’s computers and other electronic equipment in the disability discrimination matter Thompson v. Workmen’s Circle Multicare Center, No. 11 Civ. 6885 (DAB)(HBP)(S.D.N.Y. June 9, 2015).

Defendant had produced certain emails in hard copy format, including one email discussing a meeting with the Defendant CFO and Plaintiff, which Plaintiff alleged never took place. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant had falsified the email, and that she needed a forensic examination to prove it. Plaintiff also sought forensic information regarding the chronology of edits made to her work assignments.

After considering her motion, the court required Plaintiff to name her proposed forensic expert and describe the precise nature of the inspection, including purpose, methodology, and time frame. Plaintiff partially complied, providing the name of an expert, but did not set out the nature of the inspection.

Defendant objected to this request on the basis of an invasion of privacy rights. Defendant also alleged that it had deleted the emails after it produced them, making them no longer easily accessible. Defendant also noted that if Plaintiff wished to challenge the alleged meeting noted in the email, she could do so in cross-examination of the CFO and the email’s recipient.

The court denied Plaintiff’s request for forensic examination of Defendant’s email because she failed to provide a detailed description of the forensic inspection, despite having the opportunity to do so. Regarding the second request for forensic examination of documents detailing her work assignments, the court denied the forensic examination for the same reason but ordered Defendant to produce the documents in electronic format with track changes retained. If not possible to produce the documents with track changes, the court ordered Defendant to instead produce each version of the documents in paper format with dates corresponding to when the changes occurred.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts