Case Law

Court Delivers a Package of Proportionality and Cooperation in Class Action

Michigan

Solo v. UPS Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3275 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 10, 2017) In this class action breach of contract case, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendant was repeatedly overcharging for certain shipments, and asked the defendant to produce shipping records and information. The defendant argued that the plaintiffs’ request would be excessively burdensome, as the defendant maintains its package shipping costs in a live format for only a limited time, after which it is archived on backup tapes. The burden to retrieve the stored information would take six months and cost $120,000, not including the expense to analyze the data. The court found that the defendant’s method of archiving data after a short period was reasonable due to the nature and large scope of the defendant’s business. The court also held that the plaintiffs’ requests were not proportional to the needs of the case. It emphasized that Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2)(B) provides that a party is not obligated to produce ESI that is not “reasonably accessible”, and that courts have previously held that backup tapes fall into this category. The court scaled down the defendant’s production requirements to a representative sampling over a six-month period, and ordered the parties to determine a mutually acceptable methodology.

Keywords: undue burden, backup tape, reasonably accessible, cooperation