Magistrate in District of Connecticut Addresses the Appropriate Form of Electronic Production in Unfair Trade Practices Case.

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The plaintiff complained that the defendant had “dumped” over 300,000 pages of electronic documents onto plaintiff in response to the plaintiff’s discovery requests. The plaintiff filed a motion to compel the defendant (a) to supplement its production so as to identify every document which is responsive to each of plaintiff’s requests for production; (b) to organize and label each responsive document to correspond to the categories of plaintiff’s requests; and (c) to produce the “native” or “original” electronic documents identified as “Personal Folder Files” (“PST” files) which, plaintiff alleges, underlie the thousands of pages of e-mails and accompanying attachments comprising defendant’s production “as they are kept in the normal course of business.” The court held, with respect to the thousands of pages of unreadable “gibberish” produced by defendant, that any files created or received by defendant in a readable format must be produced for plaintiff in a readable, usable format. The court further held that a party producing documents as kept in the ordinary course of business was not required to specifically identify responsive documents by category. At the same time, however, the defendant was required to provide the plaintiff with information, data, or software needed to match the e-mails to the attachments. Finally, the court denied the plaintiff’s request to have the documents re-produced as PST files in order to facilitate their ability to index and use the documents in a working database; while reserving the right of plaintiff to request specific additional relevant files, the court acknowledged the defendant’s concerns with an inability to segregate out privileged documents and the susceptibility of files in their native format to be manipulated. See CP Solutions v. General Electric, No. 3:04cv2150, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27053 (D. Conn. Feb. 6, 2006).

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