Archive: January 2008

1
Court Declines to Order Production of Metadata Where Request for Production Did Not Specify Production in Original Format, and Orders Evidentiary Hearing on Spoliation Allegations
2
Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges
3
List of States Actively Considering the Adoption of Special E-Discovery Court Rules
4
Virginia Supreme Court Seeking Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments
5
Alaska Supreme Court Seeks Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments
6
Chart Highlights White House E-Mail Gap
7
Ohio Supreme Court Seeking Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments
8
White House Responds to Questions Posed by Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola Regarding Backup Media and Email
9
California Judicial Council Seeks Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments
10
Arkansas Supreme Court Approves Amendments to Evidence Rule 502 and Civil Procedure Rule 26(b)(5) to Address Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Information or Work Product

Court Declines to Order Production of Metadata Where Request for Production Did Not Specify Production in Original Format, and Orders Evidentiary Hearing on Spoliation Allegations

D’Onofrio v. SFX Sports Group, Inc., 247 F.R.D. 43 (D.D.C. 2008)

In this contentious employment discrimination case, Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola resolved a number of discovery disputes relating to the production of electronically stored information.

Among other relief, plaintiff sought the production of a certain business plan in its original electronic format, with accompanying metadata.  Plaintiff argued that Fed. R. Civ. P. 34 permits the production of documents outside of their original format only "if necessary," and that in this case, there was no such necessity.  Defendants responded that:  (a) plaintiff did not request that the Business Plan or any other documents be produced in a specific format; (b) production in original electronic format with metadata is not required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or in the absence of a clear agreement or court order, neither of which were present here; and (c) plaintiff had not demonstrated the relevance of the metadata.

The court rejected plaintiff’s interpretation of Rule 34:

Rule 34(a) does not set forth constraints on the manner of production, but instead establishes the permissible scope of a request.  Consequently, the "if necessary" clause seized upon by plaintiff is actually a constraint on the requesting party rather than the responding party.  In other words, electronic data is subject to discovery if it is stored in a directly obtainable medium.  If, however, it is not stored in a directly obtainable medium, a request may be made of the responding party to translate the electronic data into a "reasonably usable form."  Because the step of translating this type of electronic data adds an extra burden on the responding party, the request may only seek for it to be done "if [the translation is] necessary."  It is not the case that this clause requires the responding party to produce data in its original form unless "necessary" to do otherwise.
 

Read More

Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges

By Barbara J. Rothstein, Ronald J. Hedges, and Elizabeth C. Wiggins

Federal Judicial Center (2007)

This “Pocket Guide” identifies problems that recur during the course of electronic discovery, and presents management tools that federal judges may use for responding to them.  The 26-page publication may be downloaded from the Federal Judicial Center’s website, free of charge.

Read More

List of States Actively Considering the Adoption of Special E-Discovery Court Rules

A number of states are considering whether to adopt special court rules addressing the discovery of electronically stored information.  Here is a current list of those states that have published proposed rules amendments for public comment, with links to the relevant materials.

Alaska
Currently seeking public comment on proposed rules; deadline is Friday, 2/29/2008.
Request for Comments on Proposed Rule Changes 

California
Currently seeking public comment on proposed rules; deadline is Friday, 1/25/2008. 
Invitation to Comment 

Iowa
Period for public comment on proposed amendments closed on 5/1/2007.
Request for Public Comment Regarding Proposed Amendments to the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure

Read More

Virginia Supreme Court Seeking Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments

The Virginia Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Rules of Court has unanimously concluded that it should publish a Tentative Draft of possible rules amendments on the topic of electronic discovery.  The Tentative Draft takes into account the detailed comments on an initial discussion draft circulated several months ago.  It is the Advisory Committee’s plan to consider these draft rules at its April, 2008 meeting and to discuss all comments and suggestions received concerning the structure and content of the proposed provisions.

If approved by the Advisory Committee, the rules proposals would be recommended to the Judicial Council of Virginia and the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the rules should be approved and promulgated as Rules of Court.

Comments on the Tentative Draft should be sent by March 15, 2008 to:

Karl R. Hade, Executive Secretary
Supreme Court of Virginia
00 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Alaska Supreme Court Seeks Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments

The Alaska Supreme Court is now seeking public comment on a proposal to amend the Alaska Rules of Court to align Alaska’s discovery rules with the December 2006 federal rules amendments addressing the discovery of electronically stored information.  The Civil Rules Committee is recommending amendments to Alaska’s Civil Rules 16, 26, 33, 34, 37, and 45.

Comments are due by Friday, February 29, 2008, and may be submitted by mail, fax, or email:

Beth C. Adams
Court Rules Analyst
Snowden Administrative Office Building
820 West Fourth Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501-2005

Fax number:  (907) 264-8291

Email address:  badams@courts.state.ak.us

Chart Highlights White House E-Mail Gap

From a January 18, 2008 article by Pete Yost of the Associated Press:

A White House chart indicates no e-mail was archived on 473 days for various units of the Executive Office of the President, a House committee chairman says.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., says a White House spokesman’s comments suggesting no e-mail had disappeared conflicted with what congressional staffers were told in September.

On Thursday night, Waxman said he was scheduling a hearing for Feb. 15 and challenged the White House to explain spokesman Tony Fratto’s remark that "we have absolutely no reason to believe that any e-mails are missing."

Fratto based his comment on the contents of a White House declaration filed in federal court casting doubt on the accuracy of a chart created by a former White House employee that points to a large volume of e-mail gone from White House servers.

Click here to read the full article.

Ohio Supreme Court Seeking Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments

The Supreme Court of Ohio is now accepting public comments on proposed amendments to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure addressing electronic discovery.  The amendments to Rules 16, 26, 33, 34, 36, 37, and 45 are based on the December 2006 amendments made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  

Click to view the proposed amendments as published for public comment.

Comments on the proposed amendments must be submitted in writing to:  Jo Ellen Cline, Legislative Counsel, Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 South Front Street, 7th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3431 or ClineJ@sconet.state.oh.us and received no later than March 4, 2008.

Read More

White House Responds to Questions Posed by Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola Regarding Backup Media and Email

Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington v. Executive Office of the President, No. 1:07-cv-01707-HHK (D.D.C. Jan. 15, 2008)

On January 15, 2008, a declaration authored by the White House’s Chief Information Officer was filed in response to the Court’s January 8 Order, discussed in our January 10, 2008 post on the subject.  The declaration responds to four questions posed by Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola regarding the backup media being preserved by the White House for purposes of the litigation.  Among other things, the CIO confirms that emails sent or received during the 2003-2005 time frame should be contained on existing backup tapes.  However, the CIO states that her office “does not know if any emails were not properly preserved in the archiving process.”

The CIO further states that her office is undertaking an “independent effort” to determine whether there may be “anomalies” in Exchange email accounts for any particular days resulting from the potential failure to properly archive emails for the 2003-2005 time period.  The CIO states that this “independent assessment” is expected to be completed in the near term.

Click to view a Washington Post article on this most recent filing and for additional background.

California Judicial Council Seeks Public Comment on Proposed E-Discovery Amendments

To modernize civil discovery law and improve the procedures for handling the discovery of electronically stored information, the Judicial Council of California has proposed amending California’s Civil Discovery Act and two rules in the California Rules of Court on the management of civil cases.

The proposal has two parts.  First, it would amend the Civil Discovery Act (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2016.010 et seq.) to include new provisions relating to electronic discovery and would add two new sections relating to electronic discovery to the act.  Second, the proposal would amend two case management rules in the California Rules of Court (rules 3.724 and 3.728) to encourage parties to identify and discuss issues relating to electronic discovery early in the course of litigation and to encourage courts to address these issues in case management orders.  These rule amendments are closely connected with, and are intended to assist in implementing, the proposed legislation.  The rule proposals would not go forward without the legislation.

Click to view the full proposal and invitation to comment:  Electronic Discovery: Legislation and Rules

The deadline for comments is Friday, January 25, 2008.  Comments may be submitted through the Judicial Council’s online comment form, or by regular mail to the following address:

Read More

Arkansas Supreme Court Approves Amendments to Evidence Rule 502 and Civil Procedure Rule 26(b)(5) to Address Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Information or Work Product

On January 10, 2008, the Arkansas Supreme Court accepted the Committee on Civil Practice’s proposals for changes in the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Evidence to address the inadvertent disclosure of information protected by the attorney-client privilege, or any other evidentiary privilege, or the work product doctrine.  The amendments go into effect immediately.

The Reporter’s Notes explain the rationale behind the amendments:

Lawyers do their best to avoid mistakes, but they sometimes happen.  Discovery has always posed the risk of the inadvertent production of privileged or protected material.  The advent of electronic discovery has only increased the risk of inadvertent disclosures.  This amendment addresses this risk by creating a procedure to evaluate and address inadvertent disclosures, including disputed ones.

Click to view the Arkansas Supreme Court Order approving the amendments, which sets out the full text of the amendments and the accompanying Reporter’s Notes.

Copyright © 2015, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.