Archive: March 2013

1
Court Imposes Rule 16(f)(1) Sanctions against EEOC for Causing Unnecessary Burdens and Delays
2
Court Denies Motion for Protective Order or Cost-Shifting Related to Request to Utilize Sixty-Seven Search Terms
3
In Minnesota, Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure Highlight Proportionality
4
Court Awards Millions in Attorneys’ Fees for Document Review Conducted by Contract Attorneys and Use of Computer-Assisted Review

Court Imposes Rule 16(f)(1) Sanctions against EEOC for Causing Unnecessary Burdens and Delays

EEOC v. The Original Honeybaked Ham Co. of Georgia, Inc., No. 11-cv-02560-MSK-MEH (D. Colo. Feb. 27, 2013)

Previously in this case, the court ordered broad discovery of the claimants’ social media, text messages and email.  (See a summary of that opinion, here.)  In this opinion, the court imposed sanctions for the EEOC’s actions which resulted in unnecessary delays and expense for the defendant, including actions related to the facilitation of the court ordered discovery.  Notably, the sanctions were imposed pursuant to Rule 16(f), based on the Tenth Circuit’s “broader” interpretation of its application.

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Court Denies Motion for Protective Order or Cost-Shifting Related to Request to Utilize Sixty-Seven Search Terms

Juster Acquisition Co., LLC v. N. Hudson Sewerage Auth., No. 12-3427 (JLL), 2013 WL 541972 (D.N.J. Feb. 11, 2013)

In this case, the court denied Defendant’s motion for a protective order “regarding the sixty-seven (67) electronic word searches” demanded by the plaintiff.  It also denied Defendant’s request that the cost of running those searches be shifted to the plaintiff.

Plaintiff’s first Request for Production included a list of 67 proposed search terms to be run against Defendant’s ESI.  In response, Defendant sought a protective order or, alternatively, an order shifting the costs associated with the search, arguing it was “entitled” to a protective order because it had already produced 8000 pages of responsive documents (in hard copy) and because, in its view, the requested search terms were “quite broad and vague.”

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In Minnesota, Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure Highlight Proportionality

On February 4, 2013, the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota adopted amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure, including those affecting discovery.  Of particular note were amendments to Rules 1 and 26.  Specifically (and significantly), Rule 1 was amended to state that it is the responsibility of the parties and the court to assure proportionality throughout the litigation.  Accordingly, Rule 1 now states (new language is underlined):

These rules govern the procedure in the district courts of the State of Minnesota in all suits of a civil nature, with the exceptions stated in Rule 81.  They shall be construed and administered to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action.

It is the responsibility of the court and the parties to examine each civil action to assure that the process and the costs are proportionate to the amount in controversy and the complexity and importance of the issues.  The factors to be considered by the court in making a proportionality assessment include, without limitation: needs of the case, amount in controversy, parties’ resources, and complexity and importance of the issues at stake in the litigation.

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Court Awards Millions in Attorneys’ Fees for Document Review Conducted by Contract Attorneys and Use of Computer-Assisted Review

Gabriel Techs., Corp. v. Qualcomm, Inc., No. 08CV1992 AJB (MDD), 2013 WL 410103 (S.D. Cal. Feb. 1, 2013)

Following entry of judgment in their favor in this patent infringement case, Defendants filed a motion seeking attorneys’ fees, including $391,928.91 for document review conducted by an outside provider of discovery services and $2,829,349.10 “attributable to computerassisted [sic], algorithm-driven document review” utilized to reduce the number of documents requiring manual review.  The court found these amounts reasonable and granted the motion in part.  Ultimately, the court awarded Defendants a total of $12,465,331.01.

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