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MDL Case Management Order Addresses Various E-Discovery Issues

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

In re Seroquel Prods. Liab. Litig., 2007 WL 219989 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 26, 2007)

In this opinion, the district court adopted the report and recommendations of the magistrate judge relating to the parties’ joint motion for entry of case management orders. The modified case management order entered by the court contained a number of provisions relating to electronic discovery, including one that allowed plaintiffs to conduct information interviews of knowledgeable AstraZeneca-employed IT persons about some 14 categories of databases and how information could potentially be produced or extracted from them. One of the categories included databases of “instant message, voicemail, discussion forum and prior website page databases, transcripts and recovery.”

Another provision addressed the format of production, and provided:

  1. AstraZeneca shall produce all responsive hard copy and electronic documents in single-page Tagged Image File Format ("TIFF") with an accompanying load file, an extracted text file of electronic documents that are unredacted, and an Optical Character Recognition ("OCR") text file of unredacted portions of redacted documents and hard copy documents.
  2. Documents that present imaging or formatting problems shall be promptly identified and the Parties shall meet and confer to attempt to resolve the problems. The Parties are not required to produce exact duplicates of electronic documents stored in different electronic locations. The metadata for documents which have been "de-duplicated" across custodial files will indicate the names of the custodians in whose files the documents are located. The Plaintiffs shall produce documents on either DVD or CD and may produce fact sheets by email in ".pdf" format. AstraZeneca will produce documents on DVD or hard drives. 
  3. Each page of a produced document shall have a legible, unique page identifier ("Bates Number") and confidentiality legend (where applicable) on the face of the image at a location that does not obliterate, conceal, or interfere with any information from the source document. No other legend or stamp will be placed on the document image other than the Bates Number, confidentiality legend (where applicable), and redactions addressed above. 
  4. For redacted documents not yet reviewed by AstraZeneca as of the date of this order, the metadata for each document will indicate the basis for the redaction (e.g., "other AstraZeneca product," "privacy," or "privilege") at the time the redacted document is produced.

Other provisions discussed metadata, databases, costs, inaccessible and/or legacy ESI, and the preservation of documents, which was broadly defined to include:

writings, records, files, correspondence, reports, memoranda, calendars, diaries, minutes, electronic messages, voice mail (for AstraZeneca only, to the extent practicable and to the extent a custodian utilized a program that allowed maintenance of such voicemail), E-mail, telephone message records or logs, computer and network activity logs, hard drives, backup data (excluding duplicative data maintained for purposes of disaster recovery), removable computer storage media such as tapes, discs and cards, printouts, document image files, Web pages, databases, spreadsheets, software, books, ledgers, journals, orders, invoices, bills, vouchers, checks statements, worksheets, summaries, compilations, computations, diagrams, graphic presentation, drawings, films, charts, digital or chemical process photographs, video, phonographic, tape or digital recordings or transcripts thereof, drafts, jottings and notes, studies or drafts of studies or other similar such material. Information that serves to identify, locate, or link such material, such as file inventories, filed folders, indices, and metadata, is also included in this definition.