Texas Court Ruling on Dueling Motions to Compel ESI

15 Jun 2016

McKinney/Pearl Restaurant Partners, L.P. v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, CBRE, Inc. et. al., Case No. 14-2498 (N.D. Texas, May 25, 2016), a federal diversity case, arises from a dispute between a restaurant and its current and former commercial landlords.  The restaurant, Sambuca, asserted claims for breach of contract and various other business and non-business torts. The parties filed competing Motions to Compel, each seeking production of documents claimed to be improperly withheld as privileged. Plaintiff also sought compliance with a prior discovery order.  Defendants additionally included in its motion a request that answers to interrogatories be compelled.

Among the items sought by Plaintiff was a copy of Defendants’ real estate management accounting system. Defendants argued that Plaintiff never requested the accounting system in the first place and further argued that ESI from the system had already been produced pursuant to the order issued on Plaintiff’s initial motion to compel.

The court applied Texas law with respect to the privilege claims in the dueling motions, based upon its federal diversity jurisdiction. The court found that Defendants had complied with the original Order on Plaintiff’s initial motion to compel. The court found credible Defendants’ assertion that they had produced all responsive documents and ESI, including documents from the proprietary real estate management account software.  The ruling included a determination that there was no basis for any order requiring any additional production from the system.

The court went on to grant both motions in part and deny both motions in part.  The court’s order included that supplemental responses and interrogatory answers were due by June 3. The court also determined that neither party should pay the others’ attorneys’ fees and costs and would be responsible for their own expenses.

ILS – Plaintiff eDiscovery Experts