1. This case raises an interesting question. Why _shouldn’t_ the requestor be required to explain why all their requested information is relevant?

    Requests are supposed to be targetted to things that will lead to admissable evidence in court. If there is reason to suspect spoliation or tampering, then clearly metadata will be relevant. If there are even questions about timing and proof, metadata could be relevant. Absent such a reason, however, why do you care about metadata? What will you do with it and why are you really asking the other side to go to the trouble of verifying, tracking and producing it?

    When a metadata request is boilerplate (and given that I’ve personally seen that exact language in multiple requests, I believe it is boilerplate even though I can’t confirm the original source), it comes across a non-particularized request without a clear connection to the facts in the case. Why is it relevant? How will it lead to admissible evidence? If you can’t articulate answers to those questions, how is the request any different than an impermissible fishing expedition?

    On the one hand, yes, metadata is a component of the existing document. On the other hand, metadata is also information that is in a sense independent of the document. While it has to be “taken out” of native files, it has to be “added back” to redacted or imaged documents. To the extent that it is independently requested and/or independently produced, it does represent incremental cost.

    It seems at times that the balance has shifted so far in favor of the requestors of documents that we have lost sight of the underlying purpose of discovery. Discovery is not supposed to be a “gotcha” game. It is supposed to be about evidence that will actually matter in a courtroom. Metadata sometimes matters there – but usually not. Why isn’t the producing party allowed to challenge the relevance of metadata just like they can challenge the relevance of any other component of the discovery request?