United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
THOMAS J. RUETER, Magistrate Judge.
AND NOW, this 22nd day of April, 2014, upon consideration of the letter of defendant's counsel, dated March 31, 2014, requesting a protective order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1), plaintiffs' April 9, 2014, letter response, and defendant's reply letter dated April 17, 2014, it is hereby ORDERED
that defendant's letter request is DENIED IN PART and GRANTED IN PART.
This is a products liability case concerning implantable surgical meshes sold by defendant, Caldera Medical, Inc ("Caldera"). Plaintiff Shandra Cochran alleges serious medical injuries after she was implanted with Caldera's products in July 2009. Plaintiffs allege that the Caldera mesh products "contracted, degraded, migrated and eroded" causing serious injury to plaintiff Shandra Cochran's pelvic tissue and organs. (Pls.' Ltr. at 3.)
In accordance with the court's First Scheduling Order dated February 24, 2014 (Doc. 27), plaintiffs served defendant with interrogatories and a request for production of documents. See Def.'s Ltr. at Exhs. B and C. Defendant asserts that most of the requested documents consist of electronically stored information ("ESI"). Before producing the requested information, defendant proposed a protocol governing the production of documents and ESI (the "ESI Protocol"). Plaintiffs objected to several provisions of the ESI Protocol. Defendant then submitted the current letter request for a protective order.
The parties present two issues for resolution. First, defendant contends that plaintiffs should share equally the expense or cost of producing defendant's ESI. Second, plaintiffs seek to amend certain provisions of the ESI Protocol. The court will address each of these issues in turn.
Defendant represents that it is currently defending approximately 1, 709 claims (filed and unfiled) nationwide involving its various transvaginal mesh products. (Def.'s Ltr. at 2.) According to defendant, the case at bar is the only case nationwide where there is active discovery against defendant. Id . at 3. Defendant further represents that it has limited financial resources. Id . at 2-3. As such, it seeks to have plaintiffs share equally the cost of producing documents and ESI.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) provides in relevant part:
A party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order in the court where the action is pending.... The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense....
Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1).
The United States Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption that each party to a lawsuit must bear its own discovery costs. Oppenheimer Fund, Inc. v. Sanders , 437 U.S. 340, 358 (1978). The Court stated: "[T]he presumption is that the responding party must bear the expense of complying with discovery requests, but he may invoke the district court's discretion under Rule 26(c) to grant orders protecting him from undue burden or expense' in ...