Specific Georgia Authority for E Discovery
In Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Hartry, 316 Ga. App. 532, 533-34, 729 S.E.2d 656, 658 (2012), the Court of Appeals noted that any party may request that another party produce ESI via a request for production of a "data compilation". The Court of Appeals in Norfolk did not suggest there would be unfettered access to the responding party’s computer data. Rather the court said:
"And when, as here, the document to be produced is a “data compilation” from which information can be obtained, the producing party is tasked with translating the document through detection devices into reasonably usable form. So, while a requesting party does not have the right to unrestricted and direct access to a producing party's data compilations, O.C.G.A. section 9–11–34(a) allows the requesting party to inspect and copy the data after the producing party has translated the data into a reasonably usable form. And while the requesting party generally must bear the burden of its own inspection and copying, the producing party may be required to bear the expense of producing the documents and, when necessary, translating them into reasonably usable form."
In Agio Corp. v. Coosawattee River Resort Ass'n, Inc., 328 Ga. App. 642, 760 S.E.2d 691, 696 (2014), the Court of Appeals confirmed that a requesting party does not have an initial right to make a direct search of a responding party's computer hard drive or network server. "It is the responding party's duty to search his records to produce any required, relevant data." Rather, to obtain such a direct search, the requesting party, after reviewing the responding party's initial production, must make a "specific showing" why such a direct search is needed. The court stated: "Allowing a requesting party direct access to the responding party's entire database may be warranted in certain limited situations, such as a showing of non-compliance with discovery rules, but the burden is on the requesting party to make such a showing."