On June 4, 2018, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Preston Deavers of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, when addressing each party’s proposed search terms, rejected both lists, citing burden and proportionality concerns.
The court held that the defendant’s terms were unworkably broad and comprised of merely the names of the four projects at issue in the dispute. The proposed search terms would “significantly increase” the cost of discovery for the plaintiff, including a privilege review that alone was estimated to cost $100,000 to $125,000. It further held that the plaintiff’s search terms were overly complicated, relying on employee names and common construction and mechanical terms combined with Boolean connectors to attempt to screen out irrelevant projects. In the court’s view, both proposals were overly inclusive and lacked proportionality to the needs of the case.
"The court held that the defendant’s terms were unworkably broad and comprised of merely the names of the four projects at issue in the dispute. "
The court’s order was a flat rejection of both approaches. Neither the parties nor the court suggested alternatives, such as any other form of technology-assisted review. The court scheduled a July 31, 2018 status conference at which time the parties could propose new discovery plans.
The case is Am. Mun. Power, Inc. v. Voith Hydro, Inc., No. 2:17-CV-708 (S.D. Ohio June 4, 2018). A copy of the opinion can be found here.
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