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Motion to Compel Requires Specificity

Washington v. GEO Group (W.D. July 1, 2019) re-enforces that if you’re trying to get the court to compel the production of data from your opponent, it's important to be specific about which requests they have failed to comply with, and why the requested information is relevant and proportional. Overview: In this case, the defendant, GEO Group, tried to compel the plaintiff, the state of Washington, to produce data from numerous state agencies that, allegedly, was “extremely relevant” to the plaintiff’s defense. The state argued that it turned over thousands of responsive documents and that GEO’s motion failed to identify any particular requirements to which the state failed to respond. The defendant’s motion to compel also asked for complete metadata (including custodian/author data, dates of creation and modification, etc.) and additional data included in the plaintiff privilege log, but the state responded that it had turned over available metadata and an updated privilege log. Ruling:

  • Motion to Compel Document Production Denied. The court ruled that the defendant failed to identify any specific requests for production to which the State did not respond.

  • Motion to Compel Metadata Production Denied. The court noted the State’s indication that it had supplied required metadata to the extent it was able and held that GEO failed to show that additional metadata information would be “relevant and proportional to the needs of the case.”

  • Motion to Compel Privilege Log Denied. The court noted that the plaintiff already produced an updated privilege log and that the parties never met and conferred on the new log, as required by F.R.C.P 37(a)(1), prior to the motion to compel.

David Cohen, Esq., Chair

Expert Opinion from David Cohen, Esq., Chair – E-Discovery Group, Reed Smith LLP Some judges may decline to “wade into the weeds” of discovery compliance disputes where they conclude that a moving party has not met its burden of showing specific inadequacies and that missing information is likely to be both relevant and proportional, considering all of the F.R.C.P. 26(b)(1) proportionality factors.


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