Plaintiffs, a putative class of audit associates, sued KPMG under the Fair Labor Standards Act alleging a failure to pay overtime. Pippins v. KPMG LLP, No. 11-civ-0377 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 7, 2011). KPMG filed a motion for a protective order, requesting that the court endorse a rule of proportionality to limit the company’s duty to preserve ESI. KPMG argued that the class included 7,500 potential plaintiffs, triggering vast preservation costs. KPMG claimed that it had already preserved 2,500 individual hard drives, at a cost of $600 each, or $1.5 million. KPMG proposed a sampling methodology that would permit destruction of thousands of additional hard drives. Plaintiffs countered that it was too early in discovery to begin culling the hard drives. Plaintiffs also rejected KPMG’s suggestion that the parties use keywords to search for relevant documents for preservation. Keyword searches, plaintiffs contended, were “outmoded.” The court held that destroying the hard drives was “not appropriate at this time” as KPMG had failed to demonstrate that the materials to be preserved were duplicative or marginal to the litigation. The court also refused to shift the costs of preservation to the plaintiffs under an undue burden or expense theory. Rather, the court directed the parties to negotiate and propose a preservation plan.