In this case, the Northern District of Illinois ruled that – even though litigants become increasingly dependent on vendors to assist with the discovery process – they must still understand, direct and approve the vendors’ activities.
In this patent infringement suit, the defendant was found to have control over its China-based supplier and, in particular, over the supplier’s documents.
Plaintiff sought sanctions after defendant’s 30(b)(6) deposition was unable to describe the Chinese supplier’s computer and back-up systems, what searches were performed, or the Chinese entity’s document retention policy.
The judge agreed with plaintiff and granted the motion for sanction. The Court deemed that defendants took a “back seat approach and instead let the process proceed through a vendor”; it was the vendor that provided instruction to defendants on how to collect documents. The “hand-off approach” was deemed insufficient. Defendant is required to produce the requested information and “cannot place the burden of compliance on an outside vendor and have no knowledge, or claim no control, over the process”.
Peerless Indus., Inc. v. Crimson AV, LLC, No. 1:11-cv-1768, 2013 WL 85378 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 8, 2013) is available at http://discoveryadvocate…