United States District Court, S.D. New York
April 6, 2004.
CHEMTEX, LLC., Plaintiff, -against- ST. ANTHONY ENTERPRISES, INC., ANTHONY SICARI APPAREL GROUP INDUSTRIES, INC., CENTURY BUSINESS CREDIT CORP., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge
By letter dated March 24, 2004, plaintiff Chemtex, LLC ("Chemtex")
has requested an order compelling defendant Century Business Credit
Corporation ("Century") to produce the supporting documentation for the
money that Century advanced to defendants St. Anthony Enterprises, Inc.
("St. Anthony") and Anthony Sicari Apparel Group Industries Inc.
("ASAGI") for the ten month period from July 2000 through April 2001.
Century has objected to the document requests, insisting that the
ten-month period is overbroad and that the request places an undue burden
and expense upon Century because Century does not archive documents
separately for each customer. The assignments that are received by
Century from every customer are grouped according to the day they were
received. At oral argument on March 31, 2004, Century offered to bring
counsel for Chemtex to the location where the documents are located and to allow counsel to
search for the documents in the daily files.
Chemtex responds that "because Century does not keep its documents in a
fashion that would make them easily retrievable does not entitle it to
avoid its discovery obligations." Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(b) provides that:
A party who produces documents shall produce
them as they are kept in the usual course of
business or shall organize them and label
them to correspond with the categories in the
Century's offer to allow counsel for Chemtex to review its assignments
documentation does not satisfy the obligation to produce documents "as
they are kept in the usual course of business." Because "the state of the
corporation's records would make it unreasonably burdensome for the
discovering party to search for the sought-after documents, the burden
falls to the discoveree to organize the documents so that the discoveror
may make `reasonable use' of them." Standard Dyeing and Finishing
Co. v. Arma Texfile Printers Corp., 85 Civ. 5399, 1987 WL 6905, at
*2 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 10, 1987) (citing 8 C. Wright, A. Miller & F.
Elliot, Federal Practice and Procedure ¶ 2213 (Supp. 1986);
Sherman & Kinnard, Federal Court Discovery in the 80's
Making the Rules Work, 95 F.R.D. 245, 257-58 (1982); Board of
Education v. Admiral Heating & Ventilation, Inc., 104 F.R.D. 23,
36 & n.20 (N.D. Ill. 1984)). Century is therefore directed to search its archived documents for
documents responsive to Chemtex's requests, and to make those documents
available for inspection within fourteen days of the date of this
opinion. At Chemtex's option, Century may instead arrange for Chemtex to
inspect those records and provide such reasonable assistance as Chemtex
It is so ordered.
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