Sands Anderson LLP reports that despite the difference between the United States and the European Union’s approach to data privacy and the default rules for electronically stored information, like email,  a U.S. litigant still has to comply with the discovery requirement and produce documents and data stored on EU servers. So said the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently, which has followed other courts in addressing the complex issue.

As Sands Anderson reports, U.S. companies, which are subsidiaries of E.U. companies and have their emails and ESI housed on E.U. servers, have sought to invoke E.U. data privacy laws in order to limit their own U.S. discovery obligations.

The Michigan court dismissed this argument and ordered that the company produce the ESI, on the grounds that the court had an interest in vindicating the rights of the American plaintiff.

“The Court further reasoned that E.U. data law would not compel it to disregard its duty to render a fully informed disposition of the case.”

Sands Anderson advises that until the United States and the European Union reach a compromise on how to handle email and other ESI, companies facing litigation must be prepared to deal with the challenge and expense posed by the EU Data Protection Directive.