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E-⁠Discovery Case Law Library
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Case shelved under Reasonableness

Good Faith Cooperation Helps Requesting Party Win Motion to Compel Production of Data

Hurly v. BMW of North America
E.D. Penn. April 27, 2021
Why This Case Is Important

When working with opposing counsel to identify document production parameters, it behooves the requesting party to showcase good faith to cooperate in finding proportional terms. In this case, the requesting party did just that and the court ruled in their favor to compel production from it’s opposition.

Overview

In this breach of warranty case surrounding BMW cars consuming “oil at an abnormally rapid rate,” the defendant was refusing to produce requested documents by the plaintiffs.

This e-discovery dispute arises from the plaintiffs requesting discovery of documents from a previous class-action lawsuit regarding the same matter. The plaintiffs originally requested all or most of the previous class-action discovery but decided to narrow the request to three categories after conferring with the defendant.

The defendant only agreed to produce one out of the three categories requested, stating that the two other categories were “neither relevant or proportional to the claims asserted.” Specifically, on the basis of proportionality, the defendant argued that “plaintiffs are essentially seeking class-action-like discovery for a small-scale case involving four plaintiffs.”

Subsequently, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel production of the documents from the other two categories.

Ruling
  • Motion to Compel Granted in Full. The Magistrate Judge ruled that the plaintiffs request to produce all three categories of documents was legitimate based on the fact the request was relevant and proportional to the needs of the case.
  • Relevancy. Considering that the documents requested were from a class action lawsuit on the exact same matter the court ruled that the requested document were relevant.
  • Proportionality. Little information was presented to prove that producing the three categories requested would be disproportionate to the case. Since the information requested was already produced in previous litigation, even the defendant’s counsel “acknowledged with admirable candor that there would be little expense or burden associated with the production of the three categories of documents.” Additionally, the court noted that the plaintiffs narrowed their original request from all documents in the previous litigation to a more narrowly-tailored set.
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Legal Analysis
On Hurly v. BMW of North America
Mike Hamilton, JD, Senior Managing Director of Marketing, Exterro
BY
Mike Hamilton, JD, Senior Managing Director of Marketing, Exterro

Under FRCP 26 parties are required to keep their discovery requests reasonable and proportional to the matter at hand. Hence if you reduce the scope of discovery, you can drastically reduce its burden. This concept of proportionality is very important in today's big data age to ensure that discovery costs don't get out of hand and that Rule 1, the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of legal proceedings is upheld.

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