Judge Andrews resolved a discovery dispute yesterday where plaintiff challenged defendant's "relevancy redactions." According to the plaintiff:
[Defendant] DuBois routinely applied, and refuses to remove, so-called relevancy redactions to the few documents it has produced in this case. . . . The DuBois redactions that [plaintiff] Ecolab has challenged are not addressed to preserving any privilege and are improper, particularly in view of the protective order that serves to safeguard DuBois’ confidential information in this case.
Judge Andrews seems to have shot this down quickly, holding that the defendant cannot redact for reasons other than privilege:
ORDER: By no later than May 30, 2022, Defendant shall produce to Plaintiffs all documents redacted for reasons other than preservation of …
In a brief order issued last week, Judge Andrews denied a plaintiff's request that the defendant be ordered to re-produce tens of thousands of redacted documents from its production in unredacted form. According to the order, the defendant had produced 24000+ documents with redactions. The parties had agreed, via the protective order, that confidential information irrelevant to the case at hand or information not otherwise discoverable could be redacted.
Nonetheless, plaintiff argued that the defendant's "voluntary production of the fully-redacted documents inherently admits that they contain responsive material … Something underneath these full-document redactions must be responsive, or [defendant] would not have produced the documents."
In reliance on a sworn declaration from defendant's attorney and his own review of a sampling of the redacted documents, Judge Andrews concluded that there was no basis on which to find the redactions were inappropriate:
After reviewing the unredacted version of Plaintiffs’ Exhibit A, I have concluded that [defendant's] justifications for its redactions to Exhibit A – that the first document pertained to a different product and that the second document and the redacted portions of the third document are covered by the work product doctrine and attorney-client privilege – are sound. [Plaintiff] has given me no reason to doubt that a review of the remaining redacted documents would produce similar results and no reason to question the trustworthiness of Mr. Barry’s sworn declaration.
Notably, defendant's counsel Mr. Barry stated in his declaration that he had "personally reviewed" all of the redacted documents and had identified 39 that were erroneously redacted. It appears that the declaration went some way to reassuring Judge Andrews that the redactions were not overdone. ...
The parties in Progressive Sterilization, LLC v. Turbett Surgical LLC, C.A. No. 19-637 (D. Del.) brought a dispute about "excessive" redactions to certain production in their patent action.
The defendant sought information from third parties who were under contract with the plaintiff, including various consultants and a former business partner.
Plaintiff apparently has confidentiality agreements with these people, and tried to filter their document production in the case, redacting information it thought should not be produced to the defendant. According to defendant's letter brief:
[Plaintiff] insisted on reviewing [the] third-party subpoena recipients’ responsive documents and redacting certain non-privileged content . . . prior to their production to Defendants
Judge Andrew's In re Chanbond opinion an Friday focused primarily on reopening discovery, but it also addressed a second issue, which I thought merited a separate post.
Shortly before trial, in a reply brief, Defendants sought production of an "Advisory Services Agreement" between the plaintiff and third party IPNav. They had previously informally requested the document at a deposition, and renewed that request as part of their motion to reopen discovery after the document's importance became apparent in light of the standing dispute. Defendants request at the deposition was apparently on the record, and Plaintiff indicated it would look for the document, but Defendants did not follow up with a formal document request:
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