As ADC did not specify the form of production it wished, Autotech had the option of producing the document in either: (1) the form it was ordinarily maintained; or (2) a reasonably usable form.
In the Form Ordinarily Maintained
With respect to Rule 34(b)(2)(E)(ii)’s first production option, ADC relied on its own unsupported representation that the document was converted from Microsoft Word to PDF format, and was thus not produced in the form in which it was ordinarily maintained. The court found, however, that ADC had provided no evidence beyond its own uncorroborated statement in a brief, which was insufficient to support this argument.[FOOTNOTE 6] Autotech’s own contradictory submissions to the court were of no help. Indeed, in its proffered declarations, Autotech represented that the document was saved onto a CD-ROM in Microsoft Word format, while in its reply brief, Autotech implied that the document was converted to PDF format to be moved to disc.[FOOTNOTE 7]
In a Reasonably Usable Form
Because it was unclear what format in which Autotech actually produced the file, the court considered the latter half of Rule 34(b)(2)(E)(ii), namely, whether hard copy or PDF formats are “reasonably usable forms,” and, thus, satisfactory production options under that rule. ADC argued that the document was not usable, because it lacked metadata containing, among other things, an electronic history of the document. However, the document in question was somewhat unique, in that while it lacked metadata, it included, in hard copy, a history of all changes to the document. As such, the court noted that ADC’s real problem was that the document in question lacked the metadata that is normally attendant to any electronic document.[FOOTNOTE 8]
Not Specifying Metadata Up Front
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