Ten Notable Quotes from Judges in Cases About Discovery: eDiscovery Case Law

eDiscovery case law rulings are interesting (to me, at least) and, sometimes, what the judges say in those rulings are significant, direct, blunt and even amusing.  So, as we head into the weekend, here are ten notable quotes from judges in cases about discovery!

Hat tip on the ten notable quotes to the Northern District of Illinois, which has half of them (three judges across four cases).  Here are the ten notable quotes:

“Plaintiff’s destruction of his Facebook was intentional and occurred while on notice to preserve the same. Plaintiff’s explanation for what happened here is balderdash.” – Illinois Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox, Torgersen v. Siemens Bldg. Tech. et al., No. 19-cv-4975 (N.D. Ill. May 24, 2021)

“Defendants have thwarted and disrupted discovery throughout the life of this case. As already outlined above, Defendants repeatedly flouted their discovery obligations, failed to promptly communicate with opposing counsel, and repeatedly lodged baseless boilerplate objections to Plaintiff’s discovery requests. Best Buy’s attempts to use those objections to avoid producing documents are a ‘paradigm of discovery abuse.’” – New York Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, Bursztein v. Best Buy, No. 20-cv-00076 (AT) (KHP) (S.D.N.Y. May 17, 2021)

“In short, instead of working collaboratively to come up with reasonable search terms, then working together to refine those search terms, and then cooperatively engaging in sampling and further refinement of those search terms so that relevant documents are uncovered and produced, or cooperatively engaging in any of the numerous other e-discovery techniques that could lessen the discovery burdens on both parties, the [parties] have instead sought to turn the discovery process in this case into a legal variety of hand-to-hand combat.” – Massachusetts District Judge Allison D. Burroughs, Healthedge Software, Inc. v. Sharp Health Plan, No. 19-cv-11020-ADB (D. Mass. May 6, 2021)

“Mulloy’s December 12 email to Barr (which was produced by Smucker in the New York action but not produced by BuyerQuest in this lawsuit) looks like a significant document. In that email, Mulloy trash talks Tradeshift to Barr and flat-out says his goal is to establish a direct relationship between BuyerQuest and Smucker. This is a highly relevant document, and it’s concerning that BuyerQuest did not produce that email.” – California Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson, Tradeshift, Inc. v. Buyerquest, Inc., No. 20-cv-01294-RS (TSH) (N.D. Cal. April 23, 2021)

“The Court finds that the Plaintiffs’ Supplement as to Default Judgment Against Endo to be accurate and incorporates it by reference. It clearly shows that Endo and its attorneys have still not learned their lesson. It appears to the Court that Endo and its attorneys, after delaying trial, have resorted to trying to improperly corrupt the record.” – Tennessee Circuit Court Chancellor E. G. Moody, Staubus, et al v. Purdue Pharm, et al., No. C-41916 (Tenn. Cir. Ct. Apr. 6, 2021)

“Based on the evidence presented in the parties’ briefing and at the hearing, the Court finds that requiring review and production of Slack messages by Benebone is generally comparable to requiring search and production of emails and is not unduly burdensome or disproportional to the needs of this case – if the requests and searches are appropriately limited and focused.” – California Magistrate Judge Alexander F. MacKinnon, Benebone v. Pet Qwerks, et al., No. 8:20-cv-00850-AB-AFMx (C.D. Cal. Feb. 18, 2021)

“’Snakebit’—That’s how a former defense counsel described this case. But ‘snakebit’ connotes the unfortunate circumstances that befall unsuspecting victims. That didn’t happen here. Instead, through a series of missteps, misdeeds, and misrepresentations, Defendants and the former defense counsel find themselves looking down the barrel of a sanctions motion Howitzer. If any entity has been snakebit, it’s this Court.” – Illinois District Judge Iain D. Johnston, DR Distribs. v. 21 Century Smoking, No. 12 CV 50324 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 19, 2021)

“E-discovery is still discovery. Unquestionably, at times, ESI discovery can be complex. But complex issues were not at play here. The same basic discovery principles that worked for the Flintstones still work for the Jetsons.” – Illinois District Judge Iain D. Johnston, DR Distribs. v. 21 Century Smoking, No. 12 CV 50324 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 19, 2021)

“Once the charge of spoliation was made, things, to quote Ron Burgundy, ‘really escalated quickly.’” – Illinois Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole, Saleh v. Pfister, No. 18 C 1812 (N.D. Ill. July 30, 2020)

“With sincerest apologies to William Shakespeare, ‘[f]or never was a story of more woe than this of [Aliza] and her [Adam].’ No, ‘Aliza and her Adam’ doesn’t have quite the ring to it that ‘Juliet and her Romeo’ does and, as it happens, with good reason, because the tale is not remotely romantic…Importantly, our lovers are not star-crossed, they are tech-crossed.” – Illinois Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole, Gross v. Chapman, No. 19 C 2743, (N.D. Ill. July 28, 2020)

So, what do you think?  Did you find the ten notable quotes interesting?  Are there any others in recent cases you’d like to share?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

2 comments

  1. These are all fantastic, but if I were to jump the fence and go outside of 2021, there will still never be another eDiscovery wordsmith like the all-time-great, Judge Facciola, “for lawyers and judges to dare opine that a certain search term or terms would be more likely to produce information than the terms that were used is truly to go where angels fear to tread.” – United States v. O’Keefe, 537 F. Supp. 2d 14 (D.D.C. 2008). Thank you for yet another great post Doug!

  2. Thanks, Matthew. I actually covered a case last year which referenced US v. O’Keefe and Judge Facciola’s line about going where angels fear to tread. Then, in a subsequent case, he actually did go where angels fear to tread and rule on certain search terms. Here’s a link to the first one: https://ediscoverytoday.com/2020/08/12/court-grants-part-of-plaintiffs-motion-but-wont-go-where-angels-fear-to-tread-on-search-terms-ediscovery-case-week/

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