Client Advisory: E-Discovery Expert, Judge Facciola, Issues Opinion Following Trend to Limit Overly Broad Government Search Warrants

May 30th, 2014

Opinion Affirms Trend Towards Critical Perspective of Broad ESI Requests:

On March 7, 2014, Judge John Facciola of the United States (US) District Court for the District of Columbia (DC) issued an opinion denying a subpoena from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which sought the entire contents of a suspect’s email account from Apple.  The DOJ was investigating charges related to defense contractor kickbacks in the matter of the Search of Information Associated with [redacted] @mac.com that is Stored at Premises Controlled by Apple, Inc.  The opinion takes aim at the “standard format” of government search and seizure warrants, suggesting that in today’s world of big data and onerous discovery requests such broad warrants are not only overly burdensome, but also a violation of Fourth Amendment protections.  Similar opinions and decisions point to a shift among the courts, which appear to be taking an increasingly critical view of the government’s often open-ended discovery demands for electronically stored information (ESI).

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