The Plaintiffs identified 31 documents in their initial disclosures. However, none of these were produced because of a claimed computer crash. Pinkney v. Am. Med. Response, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56465, 1-3 (D. Nev. May 12, 2010).
The Defendants in turn brought a motion to compel.
Rules for Disclosures
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(a)(1), a party must produce “a copy-or a description by category and location-of all documents, electronically stored information, and tangible things that the disclosing party . . . may use to support its claims or defenses. . .” Pinkney, at *7.
A party must also supplement or correct their initial disclosures if they learn their original disclosure is incomplete or incorrect. Pinkney, at *7, citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(e)(1).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 37(c)(1) punishes those who fail to comply with Rule 26 by forbidding the trial use of any non-disclosed information. Pinkney, at *7.
A Judicial Nibble
The Court ordered the Plaintiffs to produce the information identified in their Rule 26(a) initial disclosures. If they did not, the Plaintiff could not use any of the information themselves.
Bow Tie Thoughts
As the Def Leppard classic goes, Love Bites. So Does Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 37(c)(1).
The failure to disclose or supplement discovery is a sure fire way for a judge to show his dorsal fin and take a bite out of a party. Hard drive failures are not uncommon and parties are well served by preserving their electronically stored information with any of the commercially available products that can do a targeted collection. While some might claim this is “expensive,” so is motion practice that still ends with you having to produce the data.
Josh Gilliland is a California attorney who focuses his practice on eDiscovery. Josh is the co-creator of The Legal Geeks, which has made the ABA Journal Top Blawg 100 Blawg from 2013 to 2016, the Web 100 from 2017 to 2018, and was nominated for Best Podcast for the 2015 Geekie Awards. Josh has presented at legal conferences and comic book conventions across the United States. He also ties a mean bow tie.