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In the seminal decision of Nat'l Day Laborer Org. Network v. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11655 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 2011) the Honorable Shira A. Scheindlin set forth an extensive analysis requiring metadata accompany disclosure of federal ESI in a FOIA case.

Click here for a copy of the opinion issued on 2-7-11.

In this important decision, the Court found that, if requested, specific fields of metadata must accompany a federal FOIA request. In another "wake-up" call the Court chastised litigants for failure to cooperate in discovery. Interestingly, the Court stated:

While certainly not rising to the level of a breach of an ethical obligation, such conduct certainly shows that all lawyers - even highly respected private lawyers, Government lawyers, and professors of law - need to make greater efforts to comply with the expectations that courts now demand of counsel with respect to expensive and time-consuming document production (emphasis added).

In this case, the Court:

  • Reiterated the dispute resolution procedures contained in Rule 34 if the parties have a disagreement regarding the form of production
  • Noted that Sedona Conference "abandoned an earlier presumption against the production of metadata"
  • Extensively discussed what a "load" file is and the metadata that must be included in the file, and set out the specific metadata fields for e-mail and images
  • If a party wrongfully discloses the improper ESI "form," the disclosing party must pay for the the redisclosure
  • A party must not downgrade the "searchability" form of the ESI


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