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.
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.
Download the PDF version of this case law alert here.
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.