Producing Party Not Required To Translate Nor Costs To Translate Shiftable Rules Court
- ILS Team
In NY Machinery v. The Korean Cleaners Monthly, No. 2:17-12269-SDW-ESK (D. N.J. Jan. 6, 2020), a New Jersey Magistrate Judge denied plaintiff’s application seeking to compel defendants to translate documents served as part of their document production on the grounds that “Rule 34 does not address which party has the obligation to translate documents into English.”
This discovery dispute stemmed from a case involving allegations of unfair competition, false advertising, defamation, false light and trade libel. In response to defendant’s discovery responses, plaintiff asserted various deficiencies, including the following:
“Defendants’ document production contains numerous documents…that appear to be written in Korean or Japanese. Plaintiffs have incurred the expense of obtaining certified English translations of documents contained in their production. We expect Defendants to promptly produce certified translations of these documents.”
On September 22, 2019, plaintiffs formally asked the Court to order defendants to provide certified translations of their document productions. In ruling on the motion, the Court framed the question as follows: “who bears the cost of translating foreign-language documents produced in response to a request for production of documents?”
While initially stating that there was no clear answer in the Third Circuit, the Court went on to state that it found the analysis and decision from an Eastern District of New York case persuasive and worthy of adoption. Citing Nature’s Plus Nordic A/S v. Natural Organics, Inc. 274 F.R.D. 437, 439 (E.D.N.Y 2011), the Court stated that the ruling “held that Rule 34 does not provide the district court with any authority to direct the party producing documents to translate them and that such orders violate the well-accepted principle that each party bear the ordinary burden of financing his own suit…and that each party…is expected to bear any special attendant costs.” Further, the Court in the instant matter held that “absent a showing of ‘prejudice to the requesting party for under delay,’ the party responding to document demands has no obligation to provide translations to foreign-language documents.”
As such, the Court denied plaintiffs’ request to have defendants translate the documents or shift any of the costs for translating the documents to defendants.