Magistrate Judge James Francis

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Gordon, a black attorney, alleged employer New York City Law Department discriminated against him on the basis of his race by, among other things, denying him a promotion. Ruling on certain discovery issues, the court determined that documents created before the issuance of a litigation hold may be protected by the work product doctrine if they were created in anticipation of litigation. The court also found that a search of electronic devices was not warranted where such devices were unlikely to contain relevant information not also contained on the Law Department’s own computers and servers. There was little suggestion that Law Department personnel used personal electronic devices to communicate about official business. In denying defendants’ motion to compel discovery of electronically stored information from Gordon’s personal computer, cell phones and other electronic devices, the court found defendants’ discovery requests insufficiently targeted at eliciting relevant information. Defendants’ search terms, including the names of dozens of Law Department personnel, were structured in the disjunctive and used generic terms that would create “hits” for wholly irrelevant communications.