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E-⁠Discovery Case Law Library
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Case shelved under Proportionality

After 6 Years, Court Says No to Additional Discovery

Armstrong Pump v. Hartman
W.D.N.Y December 13, 2016
Why This Case is Important

Under Rule 26, proportionality can be used to stop parties from making excessive production requests that have “diminishing returns.”

Overview

In this long, drawn out case, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel the defendant to a “formal production” of all documents pursuant to the parties’ agreed upon protective order.

The court rejected this motion based on the factors below:

  • Discovery had been ongoing for 6+ years
  • Plaintiff produced 1.6 million pages, while the defendant produced 160,000 pages
  • More than 12 depositions conducted
  • Within this 6 year time frame, the plaintiff had two separate chances to review the at-issue information.
Ruling:
  1. “DIMINISHING RETURNS.” After 6 years of discovery, the court was essentially fed up with the plaintiff and couldn’t imagine what benefit additional discovery would do in helping the plaintiff prove their case. Citing the 2015 e-discovery amendments to the FRCP, the court felt that additional discovery would have “diminishing returns,” which led to the rejection of the plaintiff’s motion.
  2. EFFECT OF NEW RULE 26. When discussing the effects of new Rule 26 and proportionality, the court stated, “proportionality has assumed greater importance in discovery disputes” and there “is the obligation, at any stage of a case, to prevent parties from expending increasing time and energy pursuing diminishing returns.”
  3. ONE LAST OUT. The court did leave one last chance for additional discovery which included the defendant producing documents that contained specified search terms.
Download Case Law Analysis PDF

Download the PDF version of the Armstrong Pump v. Hartman case analysis here.

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