The Sixth Circuit today took the extraordinary step of setting aside a district court’s discovery orders. But the district court itself had done something extraordinary — it had directed the State of Tennessee, Tennessee officials, and others to allow a consultant and a deputy U.S. Marshal to enter their offices and homes to copy all electronically-stored information (ESI) on them. John B. v. Goetz, No. 07-6373 (6th Cir. June 26, 2008).
The court cited, among other reasons for granting the mandamus petition, the likely intrusions on individual privacy and confidential matters of state; the unavailability of an adequate remedy by appeal; the excessively wholesale nature of the copying; the lack of proof that the ESI would otherwise disappear; the availability of discovery sanctions to address destruction or loss of ESI; considerations of federal-state comity; and the importance of the legal questions the mandamus petition raised.