In a dispute between Best Buy and several lessors over the obligation to provide insurance, the magistrate judge concluded that a database prepared by Best Buy in the case of Odom v. Microsoft was reasonably accessible despite a cost of at least $124,000 to restore the data to searchable form, considering the potential breach of contract damages in excess of $800,000, the potential for enhanced damages associated with Best Buy’s breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims, and the potential long-term economic impact of the outcome of the litigation on all parties. Reversing, Judge Doty, sitting in the District of Minnesota, noted the parties’ agreement that the information is no longer in a searchable format and that the database would have to be restored at a cost of at least $124,000 with a monthly storage cost of $27,823, and concluded that it was, hence, not “reasonably accessible”. As to the argument that Best Buy had a duty to preserve, the court found that: “Because of the vast quantity of information in the Odom database, Best Buy should have been on notice that defendants would seek discovery of some of that information. The database, however, would have been potentially relevant to virtually any litigation involving Best Buy because of the quantity and nature of the information it contained. Absent specific discovery requests or additional facts suggesting that the database was of particular relevance to this litigation, the court determines that Best Buy did not have an obligation to maintain the Odom database at a monthly cost of over $27,000.” Finally, as to the good cause exception, the court held that “defendants do not argue that these materials are uniquely available from the Odom database or that Best Buy could not more easily obtain the materials from another source.” The focus of defendants’ arguments, the court continued, “is that Best Buy haphazardly conducted electronic discovery. Specifically, defendants note concern about the lack of involvement from Best Buy’s information technology department to aid in the collection of ESI, the search practices of Best Buy’s property management department, Best Buy’s failure to preserve and search documents related to departed employees and Best Buy’s alleged failure to adequately search e-mail archives. Defendants, however, have failed to connect any of these concerns with the specific discovery ordered by the magistrate judge. In the absence of particularized arguments, the court cannot conclude that defendants have established the good cause.” See Best Buy v. Developers Diversified Realty Corp.,No.05-2310, 2007 WL 4230806 (D.Minn. Nov. 29, 2007).
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