Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC (Zubulake V)
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
229 F.R.D. 422 (July 20, 2004)
During discovery in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Laura Zubulake (plaintiff) requested discovery of information from UBS Warburg LLC (UBS) (defendant). UBS’s in-house and outside counsel instituted a litigation hold, meaning the attorneys told UBS’s employees verbally and in writing that electronic data relevant to the case had to be kept. Nevertheless, one key employee was not given the warnings, and another employee was not asked to turn over relevant data. Further, UBS’s attorneys did not make a specific warning about backup tapes until Zubulake made a discovery request for them. UBS attorneys also failed to advise the information technology department not to recycle backup tapes in a timely manner. UBS’s attorneys considered but did not take steps to segregate or take possession of relevant data. As a result, UBS employees deleted, destroyed, or otherwise failed to produce emails relevant to the litigation. Zubulake moved the court for sanctions against UBS for the late or non-production of requested information.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scheindlin, J.)