The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief urging the Eighth Circuit to grant a petition for a writ of mandamus to reverse a district court’s decision permitting a prohibitively expensive request for discovery as to each member of a proposed class without accounting for the burdens of responding to the request.
The Chamber’s brief explains that the rising costs of e-discovery have significant implications for the business community, for whom the costs of discovery frequently soar into the millions of dollars, resulting in an inexorable hydraulic pressure to settle claims regardless of the underlying merits. The Chamber’s brief argues that whether a discovery request is improperly burdensome should be assessed in terms of the current capabilities of the responding party’s computer systems, not based on the requesting party’s preferred capabilities. The brief explains that companies spend millions of dollars to set up and maintain databases and other computerized systems to serve the needs of their businesses—not the needs of some unknown, future litigation. These complex systems cannot be fashioned readily to accommodate every discovery request. The brief also highlights many comment letters and testimonies from a diverse range of businesses, from nearly every sector of the economy, in support of recent changes to the federal e-discovery rules due to the high costs of e-discovery.
Carter G. Phillips, Robert D. Keeling, and Rebecca S. Levenson of Sidley Austin LLP served as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.