When making production requests, your request should be narrowly tailored to the circumstances surrounding the case. Usually, the amount in controversy is the deciding factor on whether the request is proportional or unduly burdensome, but this case shows that the public interest also can play a big role in the court’s proportionality analysis.
This case involved mailings by the defendants to citizens outside the state of Kansas, which the plaintiffs alleged were in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The e-discovery dispute arose when the plaintiffs refused to produce information in response to two requests that they believed were “irrelevant and overbroad, and they are not proportional to the needs of the case.”
The defendant’s requests in dispute were:
1. "All documents that track the number of advance/absentee mail ballot applications that VPC [plaintiffs] has sent to ineligible or deceased registrants in any state."
2. “All documents referencing, regarding, or involving the receipt of VPC [plaintiffs] mailers by ineligible or deceased registrants in any state."
The plaintiff argued that the requests were not proportional, due to their not being relevant to the “actual issues in this case.” Additionally, the plaintiffs stated they had already “committed to produce numerous categories of similarly irrelevant documents.”
Download the PDF version of this case law alert here.
The court cited precedent that discovery is relevant unless “it is clear the information can have no possible bearing” on the parties claims or defenses. Given the public interests in voting rights and election issues, the court concluded that discovery here should not be restricted based on proportionality considerations.