Federal Court Orders Defendants to Add Metadata to Privilege Log

by: Kelly A. Williams, a partner at Picadio Sneath Miller & Norton, P.C.

Parties to litigation are used to providing privilege logs (a list of documents not produced in discovery on the grounds that the documents contain privileged information) with such information as author, recipient, date, description of the document and the privilege being asserted.  Now that electronic documents are becoming the “norm,” the courts may begin requiring more information about these documents.  Once such case is Favors v. Cuomo, a redistricting case in filed in the Eastern District of New York.  In this case, the court ordered defendants to supplement their privilege log to include “addressee(s), copyee(s), blind copyee(s), date, time, subject line, file name, file format, and a description of any attachments.”  Favors v. Cuomo, 11-CV-5632, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113076, *116 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 10, 2012) (U.S. Mag. J. Roanne L. Mann).  The rationale for this ruling was that this type of information is easily and readily accessible given the metadata available for electronic documents.  Id.  However, the court did add that merely listing the subject line, file name or document title would be insufficient as it would result in “vague, confusing, or conclusory descriptions.”  Id. at *117 n.36.  Thus, this type of information would have to be revised to provide a sufficient description of the document.

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