Judge Scheindlin Holds That FOIA Production Presumptively Includes Metadata

Litigation Support and E-Discovery Alert



Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote the seminal Zubulake case that ushered in the modern era of e-discovery. She recently ruled on another significant e-discovery issue for companies who file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the federal government. The case resolved whether the government must produce metadata — information describing how the government had kept its electronic files before producing them to the requester — in response to a FOIA request. Judge Scheindlin writes, “[C]ertain metadata is an integral or intrinsic part of an electronic record. As a result, such metadata is ‘readily reproducible’ in the FOIA context. ... [M]etadata maintained by the agency as part of an electronic record is presumptively producible under the FOIA ....”