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E-⁠Discovery Case Law Library
A collection of simple, easy to understand analyses and resources on e-⁠discovery case law.
Case shelved under Proportionality

You Must Produce Relevant Information (or Have Evidence to Prove Otherwise)

Oppenheimer v. Episcopal Communicators, Inc.
W.D. N.C. August 14, 2020
Why This Case Is Important

As many people know, it’s imperative when making or defending against a proportionality claim to have evidence on why such a claim is valid or invalid. In this case, the party trying to make a proportionality claim offered no proof of why it was disproportionate.

Overview

In this copyright infringement case, the defendant motioned to compel production from plaintiff for information pertaining to prior copyright assertions, the alleged infringement, etc.

Leading up to this motion, the defendant tried multiple times to negotiate and resolve these production issues, including…

  • Sending a letter to plaintiff outlining issues with plaintiff’s first production
  • Held a meet and confer to attempt to resolve the production issue
  • Even after getting a protective order from the court, similar issues remained with the plaintiff’s subsequent production


The plaintiff contended that the requests were “vague, ambiguous, irrelevant to any claim or defense, overbroad, not proportionate to the needs of the case, and overly burdensome.” Additionally, the plaintiff argued that some of the defendant’s requests were privileged.

Almost four months after the initial production request was served to the plaintiff, the defendant filed a motion to compel production.

Ruling:
  • Motion to Compel Granted. Given the fact that the plaintiff offered little evidence to support it’s claim that the defendant’s production requests were disproportionate, privileged or protected. The court granted defendant’s motion to compel production of the requested information.
  • Boilerplate Objections. The plaintiff never gave a specific reasons to prove their assertions that the requests by defendant were vague, ambiguous, overbroad or burdensome. The court went on to state that the plaintiff never explained “how a narrower request would provide the defendant with the relevant information that it seeks.”
  • Invalid Privilege Claim. Based on the plaintiff never producing a privilege log as required by Rule 26, the court ruled that any privilege claims were waived.
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Legal Analysis
On Oppenheimer v. Episcopal Communicators, Inc.
Mike Hamilton, JD, Senior Managing Director of Marketing, Exterro
BY
Mike Hamilton, JD, Senior Managing Director of Marketing, Exterro

When trying to identify proportional e-discovery parameters, it behooves both sides to cooperate and work together. When one side is uncooperative, readers should emulate what the defendant did in this case. Propose alternative measures, try and negotiate and ultimately if your efforts fall on death ears, bring in the court to help resolve the issue.

Mike Hamilton, JD's Bio
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