Rule 34 Document Dumps

Document dumps. I despise them. There is just nothing more exciting than like getting a disclosure that states it contains 22,000 documents (but not how many pages) that takes up 80 gigabytes of space. Especially since document dumps most frequently occur on the Thursday before a holiday weekend… or deposition. It reminded me of this line: Have you ever spent a Thanksgiving holiday reviewing 1,200,000 pages of billing records in a warehouse in Topeka? (2:25 mark here)

NRCP 34(b)(2)(E)(i) requires the responding party “must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business or must organize and label them to correspond to the categories in the request.” “[T]he provision that a party may produce records in the manner they are kept in the usual course of business was intended primarily for the protection of the discovering party to prevent deliberate “shifting of the materials from the sequence in which they were originally kept to somewhere else.”[1]

Thus, a party producing voluminous documents in response to a request for production should reasonably organize, label or index the produced documents to correspond with the categories in the request. This requirement ensures that documents responsive to a particular request are identified in response to that request and can be reasonably accessed in the document production. A party who produces voluminous documents in no apparent order does not comply with Rule 34. If the party produces its records in the manner they are kept in the usual course of its business, then it should identify the documents with an appropriate index or references to the document numbers corresponding to the specific requests. A party who fails to maintain its business records in an organized state, cannot rely on its own lack of organization to dump records on the discovering party and simply advise it to go search for what it is seeking.[2]

So what to do? File a motion to compel.

[1] Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. v. KXD Technologhy, Inc., 2:05-cv-01532, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20205, 2007 WL 879683 (D. Nev. Mar. 20, 2007) (quoting In re Adelphia Communications Corp., 338 B.R. 546, 553 (S.D.N.Y. 2005); see also 8A Charles Alan Wright & Arthur Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2213.
[2] Id. (citations omitted).