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Nix v. The Chemours Company FC, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division

October 11, 2019

BRENT NIX, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CHEMOURS COMPANY FC, LLC, THE CHEMOURS COMPANY, E.I. DUPONT de NEMOURS AND COMPANY, INC., E.I. DUPONT CHEMICAL CORPORATION, ELLIS H. MCGAUGHY, and MICHAEL E. JOHNSON, Defendants. ROGER MORTON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CHEMOURS COMPANY FC, LLC, THE CHEMOURS COMPANY, E.I. DUPONT de NEMOURS AND COMPANY, INC., E.I. DUPONT CHEMICAL CORPORATION, ELLIS H. MCGAUGHY, AND MICHAEL E. JOHNSON, Defendants. VICTORIA CAREY, MARIE BURRIS, MICHAEL KISER, and BRENT NIX, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
E.I. DUPONT de NEMOURS AND COMPANY and THE CHEMOURS COMPANY FC, LLC, Defendants.

          STIPULATION AND ORDER ON DISCOVERY OF ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION

          Robert T. Numbers, II United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(f), the Court adopts and enters as an Order the parties' Stipulation and Order on Discovery of Electronically Stored Information. The procedures and protocols outlined herein govern the production of electronically stored information (“ESI”) and paper documents that are produced in an electronic format (the “ESI Protocol”) on or after the date of this Order. All disclosures and productions made pursuant to the ESI Protocol are subject to the Stipulated Protective Order. The parties will confer, if needed, for production formats for particular materials that are not addressed herein.

         I. General Provisions

         A. Counsel for Plaintiffs, E.I. DuPont de Nemours (“DuPont”), and The Chemours Company FC, LLC (“Chemours”) have met and conferred regarding discovery of electronically stored information and have reached agreement on certain of the issues discussed regarding such discovery. The parties agree that the efficient and just resolution of this matter will be furthered by mutual cooperation and transparency in responding to the parties' requests for documents, and the parties intend to promote, to the fullest extent possible, the resolution of disputes regarding the discovery of ESI without Court intervention. The parties do not intend by entering this stipulation to waive any privilege, work product protections, or other protections or objections in responding to discovery.

         B. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will govern discovery, and no provision herein alters any provision of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, local rules, or applicable law. The terms of this Order shall be construed to ensure the cost-efficient and cost-effective exchange of information consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, local rules, and applicable law.

         II. Definitions

         A. “Confidentiality Designation” means the legend affixed to Documents for confidential and highly confidential discovery information as defined by, and subject to, the terms of the parties' Stipulated Protective Order.

         B. “Document” has the meaning contemplated in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and, includes, without limitation, all ESI. The term “Document” includes Hard-Copy Documents, Electronic Documents, and other ESI.

         C. “Electronic Document or Data” means Documents that are in electronic form at the time of collection.

         D. “Electronically stored information” or “ESI, ” means electronically stored information, as that term is used in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(a).

         E. “Hard Copy Document” means a document that is stored in paper form at the time of collection.

         F. “Hash Value” is a number that uniquely identifies a file or specific data and that is calculated using a standard mathematical hashing algorithm whose input comprises characteristics of the respective file or data.

         G. “Load File” is an electronic file that can assist in loading an electronic production set into a receiving party's document review platform. For example, as described more fully below, a Metadata Load File contains Metadata about the electronic production set, and an Image Load File contains information to facilitate loading document images into the document review platform.

         H. “Metadata” are information embedded in or associated with an Electronic Document that are generated automatically by the operation of a computer or other information technology system when the document is created, modified, transmitted, deleted, or otherwise manipulated. The parties will not be required to manually populate any metadata fields.

         I. “Media” means an object or device, real or virtualized, including but not limited to a disc, tape, computer or other device, on which data is or was stored.

         J. “Native Format” means the original format of ESI in which it was generated, used and/or normally kept by the producing party in the usual course of its business and in its regularly conducted activities. For example, the native format of an Excel workbook is a .xls or .xslx file.

         K. “OCR” is an abbreviation for “optical character recognition” and references a process by which text contained within an Electronic Document in a non-searchable imaged format is converted to a searchable text format.

         L. “Producing Party” means the Party producing documents during discovery.

         M. “Receiving Party” means the Party receiving documents during discovery.

         N. “Static Image(s)” means a representation of ESI produced by converting a Native File into a standard image format capable of being viewed and printed on standard computer systems. A Static Image may also be created by scanning a Hard-Copy Document. A Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) image is an example of a Static Image.

         III. Form of Production

         The parties will produce Documents in “a reasonably usable form.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a)(1)(A). If a Party has previously processed or produced certain Documents in a form that is different than that provided for herein, the Party is not required to produce the Documents in accordance with this Protocol, provided that the form utilized is also “reasonably usable.” The requesting party reserves the right to object to whether the form utilized is “reasonably usable.” Notwithstanding the foregoing, the parties agree that the following forms of production are “reasonably usable”: documents produced as TIFF images with load files utilizing Concordance default delimiters, and files produced in native format pursuant to Section III.B with an accompanying placeholder image / slip sheet bearing the Bates number and any confidentiality designation required by the Parties' protective order.

         A. Paper Documents/Hard Copy Scanned Images.

         1. Paper documents may be produced in hard-copy paper form. If a Party has converted paper documents into an electronic form, including by scanning, then the Party will produce those electronic scans in the form of TIFF images using best efforts in the unitization of the document. The production will include a Metadata Load File and an Image Load file as described more fully below in Section III.C. The Producing Party will not be required to manually populate any of the fields in either Load File. The parties agree that to the extent the ...


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