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| 1 minute read

Request for Reproduction Denied in Recent “Document Dump” Case

In Mills v. Steuben Foods, Inc., 19-CV-1178WMS(F) (January 13, 2023), the court denied the plaintiff's requests for reproduction of documents that the plaintiff asserted were not in a text-searchable format.

In this employment discrimination case, the plaintiff brought a motion to compel the re-production of documents already produced by the defendants. During discovery, the plaintiff sought all documents in the defendants’ possession which pertain to the plaintiff. Although the defendants provided all the requested materials, the plaintiff then filed a motion to compel the re-production of documents, stating that the documents provided were not in a text-searchable format. The key issue in the case was "text searchability." The defendants provided PDF documents they maintain were reasonably searchable with the "Ctrl-F" function.

The court noted that searchability itself is not required by federal rules; rather, the documents must be provided in a reasonably usable format. The record did not indicate that the plaintiff ever requested that ESI discovery be produced in any particular format. In such circumstances, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b)(2)(E)(ii) provides: “[i]f a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.” The court held that defendants met this standard. Accordingly, the plaintiff’s motion to compel was denied.

For more information on the case, and expert insights from Reed Smith’s Dave Cohen, check out the Exterro Case Law Alert.


ediscovery, request, reproduction, searchability, frcp 34, rule 34, production, e-discovery