The focus of this series is the various issues which cause objections during the discovery process, outlined below:
Permissibility of Discovery Tool
Number of Interrogatories
Outside the Scope of Discovery
Lacks Specific Description within Request
Vagueness, Lacks Specificity, or Ambiguity of Request
Information Obtainable from Another Source
Information Equally Available to the Other Party
Documents Already Produced
Request Creates Unnecessary Burden, Expense, or Made for Purposes of Harassment
Creation of Document not in Existence
Electronic and Magnetic Data
Personal, Constitutional or Property Rights
Inconvenient Time or Place
Information Unknown or Not in Possession of Responding Party
Persons with Knowledge of Relevant Facts
Request Seeks Admission of a Legal Proposition
Seeks Admission of Hearsay
Seeks Admission of a Matter of Opinion
Assertions of Privilege
Objection Regarding Electronic and Magnetic Data
The purpose for the discovery process is the exchange of relevant information which “appears reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” TEX. R. Civ. P. 192.3(a). If, however, a party requests information that does not conform to the guidelines of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, a party has the right to object to that request. One common objection results from the request for electronic and magnetic data. If, despite the party’s best efforts, he or she cannot find or produce data in a particular electronic and magnetic format as requested, the responding party may object. TEX. R. CIV. P. 196.4. For example, a responding party might validly object to producing data from a corrupted database it no longer uses. The party is not required to hire IT consultants to recover the requested material from the corrupted database.
A proper objection might include the following language:
OBJECTION: The electronic or magnetic data cannot be retrieved and produced in the form requested after using reasonable efforts. TEX. R. CIV. P. 196.4.
The discovery process is already difficult, and objections may slow the process even further. In order to streamline proceedings and to avoid wasted time, effort, and money, seeking the guidance of a lawyer experienced in litigation is always a wise choice.
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