Top 5 Ediscovery Case Summaries - December 2013: California: Court Finds “Triangulation” Approach to Ediscovery “Reasonable”—to an Extent California

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Banas v. Volcano, 2013 WL 5513246 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 4, 2013).

In this search dispute, the defendants unilaterally adopted a “triangulation” approach to identifying ESI responsive to the plaintiffs’ requests for production without first discussing the process with the plaintiff. Rather than search every custodian’s inbox, the defendants identified a group of employees “who would likely” have responsive information, so that they would “’most likely’ capture all the relevant documents.” Taking issue with this ediscovery approach, the plaintiffs pointed to the contents of a plaintiff former-employee’s hard drive to show that the defendants did not produce all of the allegedly responsive documents resulting from the defendant’s interviews with its employees. While the court found that the defendant’s “triangulation” approach “might have been a reasonable way to gather the relevant documents,” it took issue with the fact that the methodology was never discussed with the plaintiffs. Furthermore, the court found the plaintiff’s argument that potentially relevant ESI was not produced was valid, and ultimately ordered the defendants to supplement their disclosures by searching the ESI of the deposed witnesses.