The magistrate judge in the Edward Butowsky slander, defamation and libel lawsuit has issued new discovery orders for the collection of Electronically Stored Information (ESI).

In an eerie coincidence the Magistrate Judge, Sarah Netburn, that provided the recent Ed Butowsky order, is infamous for a 9/11 World Trade Center related ruling.

Survivors and relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks left Manhattan Federal Court on Friday furious at the Department of Justice for withholding information about Saudi Arabia’s role in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn seemed sympathetic, cautioning the audience of survivors and 9/11 families that “very intense public safety and national security concerns” were involved in the case.


Meanwhile, the Magistrate Judge has placed focus on Electronically Stored Information

Electronically stored information (ESI), for the purpose of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) is information created, manipulated, communicated, stored, and best utilized in digital form, requiring the use of computer hardware and software.[1]

ESI has become a legally defined phrase as the U.S. government determined for the purposes of the FRCP rules of 2006 that promulgating procedures for maintenance and discovery for electronically stored information was necessary. References to “electronically stored information” in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) invoke an expansive approach to what may be discovered during the fact-finding stage of civil litigation.[2]


Above: Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn


U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York (Foley Square)

Rich et al v. Fox News Network LLC et al
Assigned to: Judge George B. Daniels
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn

Related Case: 1:17-cv-05807-GBD

Cause: 28:1332pi Diversity-Personal Injury

Date Filed: 03/13/2018
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 360 P.I.: Other
Jurisdiction: Diver
02/12/2020 110 ORDER: By February 24, 2020, the parties shall jointly file a letter updating the Court as to the status of an ESI protocol including agreed upon search terms and custodians. Plaintiff’s opposition to defendants Fox New Network LLC and Malia Zimmerman’s motion to dismiss is due by February 28, 2020. Defendants’ reply is due March 20, 2020. Defendants Fox New Network LLC and Malia Zimmerman shall answer the amended complaint within 15 days of Judge Daniels’s decision on the motion to dismiss. The parties may amend the pleadings or join additional parties until May 20, 2020. A joint letter informing the Court about the status of discovery shall be filed with the Court by Friday, April 24, 2020. The letter should address any outstanding discovery disputes. All fact discovery shall be completed by Friday, September 18, 2020. All expert discovery shall be completed by Thursday, December 31, 2020. This deadline is firm. Except for the files to be produced in native format, as discussed below, documents shall be produced as image files (preferably TIFF, and PDF if necessary) accompanied by a Concordance DAT file, with an opticon Log file for image cross-reference, that includes the following metadata fields: (See document.) (Signed by Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn on 2/12/2020) Copies E-mailed by Chambers. (ras) (Main Document 110 replaced on 2/12/2020) (ras). (Main Document 110 replaced on 2/12/2020) (ras). (Entered: 02/12/2020)


02/13/2020 111 LETTER addressed to Judge George B. Daniels from Elisha Barron dated February 13, 2020 re: Opposition to Defendant’s Letter Motion to Dismiss. Document filed by Joel Rich, Mary Rich. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5).(Barron, Elisha) (Entered: 02/13/2020)


response motion


More background:






SEPTEMBER 11, 2018

With support rising in the Senate for a resolution urging a broad declassification of government records related to 9/11, a judge has ruled that Saudi Arabia isn’t entitled to blanket secrecy for documents it produces in court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn’s Aug. 27 ruling means that certain “highly sensitive” Saudi diplomatic and consular files, financial records and personnel documents could become public.

In response to an earlier court order, the Kingdom on July 31 had produced 3,818 documents, totaling nearly 6,700 pages, to attorneys for 9/11 victims and their families. Those plaintiffs are suing Saudi Arabia in federal court in New York City claiming it helped plan and pay for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. The Saudis have long denied any involvement in the attacks.

About half of the records the Saudis turned over to the court were marked “highly sensitive” and confidential. Included were the personnel jackets of a trio of Saudis, two of whom are Omar al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi agent, and Fahad al-Thumairy, a diplomat and imam at Los Angeles’ King Fahd mosque. Both men were involved in assisting two 9/11 hijackers during the time they were living in Southern California.





U.S. District Court
Southern District of New York (Foley Square)

In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001
Assigned to: Judge George B. Daniels
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn



Judge seeks common ground in 9/11 suits against Saudi Arabia

March 23, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge tried Thursday to bring order to the legal process after a new law opened the floodgates to 9/11 lawsuits blaming Saudi Arabia for the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Magistrate Sarah Netburn presided over a hearing that brought together dozens of lawyers who have filed more than a dozen lawsuits since last fall. The latest was filed just hours before the hearing.

The lawsuits represent thousands of family members of those who died during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and others who were injured. A separate lawsuit was brought on behalf of insurance companies that paid $212 million after the attacks. It seeks at least triple that in damages. Most of the suits seek unspecified damages.

Saudi Arabia is scheduled in June to request that the lawsuits be tossed out.

Netburn said she’d like to see some consolidation among lawsuits largely alleging the same facts. The suits claim Saudi Arabia supported al-Qaida for a decade before the Sept. 11 attacks through a series of purported charities and other means.

The lawsuits were filed since last September, when Congress overrode a veto by former President Barack Obama to turn the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act into law.

Sovereign immunity usually protects governments from lawsuits, but the bill creates an exception that lets litigants hold foreign governments responsible if they support a terrorist attack that kills U.S. citizens on American soil.

Michael Kellogg, a lawyer for Saudi Arabia, said at Thursday’s hearing that lawyers for plaintiffs were playing unfairly by using mostly the same plaintiffs in 9/11 cases brought 14 years ago to make new claims against Saudi Arabia.

“They’ve added a number of different allegations, which will complicate the process,” he said.

Previous efforts to hold Saudi Arabia, its officials, and banks and charitable organizations responsible for the attacks have failed in the courts. Not all of the cases have been tossed out solely for sovereign immunity reasons.

In 2008, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that four Saudi princes cannot be held liable in the Sept. 11 attacks even if they were aware that charitable donations to Muslim groups would be funneled to al-Qaida.

To be continued…


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