What Justifies an Extension for Electronically Stored Information?
Every case involving defendant and plaintiff eDiscovery will differ regarding the amount of time necessary to collect, cull and search the data. The federal courts have crafted model stipulated orders for discovery related to electronically stored information (ESI). In Alex Ang and Lynn Streit, v. Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc., (N.D. Cal. June 9, 2014), the court looked at whether the facts surrounding ESI discovery justified a deadline extension.
In previous discovery disputes, Defendant argued that discovery in the case should be limited in scope to information from the class period and should not include products that Defendant alleged were not sold in California. The Court rejected those arguments and ordered Defendant to produce all responsive, non-privileged documents by May 28, 2014.
Defendant then requested a 90-day extension of the May 28 deadline, stating that prior briefing and arguments were focused on discoverability and did not address eDiscovery issues or the amount of time that it would take Defendant to produce responsive documents.
The court, in ruling against Defendant, found that the problems were largely of Defendant’s own making. The court stated that discoverable information today is mainly electronic. This District has made available a model Stipulated Order Re: Discovery of ESI, as well as guidelines that encourage the parties to discuss the preservation, collection, search, review, and production of ESI as early as possible at the outset of the case. Id. The court was not convinced that Defendant had shown good cause or diligence that would justify the requested 90-day extension.
The court synthesized salient points in its response to Defendant’s request. The court reasoned that it is out of the ordinary, and lacking in a showing of good cause, to not anticipate electronic discovery. Most of discoverable information in today’s world is electronic and acting as though eDiscovery will not be a factor in litigation amounts to intellectual dishonesty, at the least. Secondly, because most districts have enacted guidelines on the discovery of ESI, electronic discovery should be a looked at as the rule, not the exception in litigation.