Rule 37. Failure to Make or Cooperate in Discovery. Sanctions
(1) If a party fails to provide electronically stored information and a motion to compel discovery is filed, a judge should first determine whether the material sought is subject to production under the applicable standard of discovery. If the requested information is subject to production, a judge should then weigh the benefits to the requesting party against the burden and expense of the discovery for the responding party, considering such factors as: the ease of accessing the requested information; the total cost of production compared to the amount in controversy; the materiality of the information to the requesting party; the availability of the information from other sources; the complexity of the case and the importance of the issues addressed; the need to protect privilege, proprietary, or confidential information, including trade secrets; whether the information or software needed to access the requested information is proprietary or constitutes confidential business information; the breadth of the request, including whether a subset (e.g., by date, author, recipient, or through use of a key-term search or other selection criteria) or representative sample of the contested electronically stored information can be provided initially to determine whether production of additional such information is warranted; the relative ability of each party to control costs and its incentive to do so; the resources of each party compared to the total cost of production; whether the requesting party has offered to pay some or all of the costs of identifying, reviewing, and producing the information; whether the electronically stored information is stored in a way that makes it more costly or burdensome to access than is reasonably warranted by legitimate personal, business, or other non-litigation-related reasons; and whether the responding party has deleted, discarded or erased electronic information after litigation was commenced or after the responding party was aware that litigation was probable.
(2) Absent exceptional circumstances, a court may not impose sanctions under these rules on a party for failing to provide electronically stored information lost as a result of the routine, good faith, operation of an electronic information system.