Plaintiff and Defendant had agreements respecting mining claims staked by Defendant, under which Plaintiff provided funding for exploration in return for an interest in the resulting claims. There was disagreement over the manner the agreements were administered which, Plaintiff argued, amounted to breaches of duty.
Among other issues, both parties sought further production of documents. Plaintiff requested electronic copies of emails and other documents which have already been produced in hard copy and in TIFF format by Defendant. This was required, Plaintiff argued, to ensure that certain documents were authentic. Plaintiff submitted that there was evidence that principals of the Defendant had fabricated timesheets to construct an appearance of legitimacy to accounts rendered to Plaintiff.
Defendant’s relied on 2006 Practice Directions which held TIFF as the default format of electronic image materials. Moreover, Defendant argued that TIFF formatting was apparently required for proper redaction of the over 1600 emails. Defendant spent over 70 hours dealing with TIFF conversion and redaction. It would be an enormous undertaking to reproduce electronic copies that involve a duplication of efforts. In addition, producing the emails in their original electronic format would be impossible without breach of privilege as meta-data attached to such documents could not be similarly redacted.
The court held that requiring the reproduction of the emails was not appropriate. Emails documenting the fabrication of records was established in the hard copy versions provided to Plaintiff. So Plaintiff has the evidence it needs to prove fabrication. The reproduction of spreadsheets, however, was appropriate. The electronic versions could provide useful insight about how the documents were created and that electronic data would be of assistance in preparing reports, so there is merit in ordering reproduction.