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The Court granted Kuraray’s writ of mandamus, finding that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering production of months’ worth of cellphone records without a showing that each individual employee’s use of his cellphone could have been a contributing cause of the chemical release.
The Court issued a per curium opinion and ruled that :
• If the party seeking the production of cellphone data satisfies this initial burden, the trial court may order production of cellphone data, provided its temporal scope is tailored to encompass ONLY the period of time in which cellphone use could have contributed to the incident.
 • A trial court may not order production of a person’s cellphone data for a time at which his use of the cellphone could not have been a contributing cause of the incident.
 • Only if an initial production of cellphone data indicates that cellphone use could have contributed to the incident may a trial court consider whether additional discovery regarding cellphone use beyond
that timeframe may be relevant.
 In its ruling on this case, the Court found that:
Transportation Law
 • To be entitled to production of cellphone data,
the party seeking it must allege or provide
some evidence that the person of interest’s
cellphone use could have been a contributing cause of the incident on which the claim is based.
 • While there was evidence showing that Kuraray previously had issues with employee cellphone use in the control room, Plaintiffs did not allege that cellphone use by any Kuraray employee constituted negligence or was a cause of or contributing factor to the chemical release.
 • Though Plaintiffs argued that the extended period of cellphone data is relevant because they alleged that Kuraray negligently failed to supervise its employees and failed to implement adequate policies to protect against cellphone use, Kuraray’s policies and alleged failure to supervise cellphone use was relevant ONLY if there is some evidence that cellphone use could have been a contributing cause of the release.
 This ruling imposes an important limit on the discovery of cellphone data in many of the typical cases involving our Transportation clients both on and off the road.. This ruling will be an important tool for defense attorneys to use in cases where plaintiffs try to abuse the discovery process to retrieve irrelevant information to bolster their arguments.
Melanie Cheairs is a Partner with Mayer LLP in Houston, TX. Contact her at:

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