Electronic Discovery Law

Legal issues, news and best practices relating to the discovery of electronically stored information.

 

1
For the First Time, English Court Approves Use of Predictive Coding
2
Court Declines to Compel Production of All Documents Identified by Agreed-Upon Search Terms
3
Citing Newly-Amended Rule 37(e), Court Vacates Prior Order Imposing Adverse Inference
4
Magistrate Judge Applies Newly Amended Rule 37(e), Addresses Threshold Question of Whether At-Issue Emails were “Lost”
5
Court Concludes Defendant’s Request was “precisely the kind of disproportionate discovery that Rule 26—old or new—was intended to preclude.”
6
“The amendments may not look like a big deal at first glance, but they are.” – Chief Justice Roberts, 2015 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary
7
Absent Plaintiff’s Control of Emails in Employees’ Personal Accounts, Court Denies Motion to Compel
8
Court Applies Amended Rule 26, Concludes Burdens on Parties Resisting Discovery Have Not Fundamentally Changed
9
In Criminal Case, Failure to Preserve Results in Exclusion of All Text Messages, Possible Adverse Inference
10
Electronic Discovery Law Blog Named to ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (Again!)

For the First Time, English Court Approves Use of Predictive Coding

Pyrrho Investments Ltd v MWB Property Ltd [2016] EWHC 256 (Ch)

On February 2, 2016 an English court approved the use of predictive coding for the first time. Thereafter, it issued an opinion explaining the reasons for approval, relying in part upon the well-known Da Silva Moore case, which was the first to approve the use of predictive coding in American litigation.

Following extensive discussion of the issue, including acknowledging the parties’ agreement to utilize predictive coding in this case, the court laid out the factors it considered in favor of approving the use of predictive coding, noting “there were no factors of any weight pointing in the opposite direction”:

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Court Declines to Compel Production of All Documents Identified by Agreed-Upon Search Terms

Gardner v. Continental Cas. Co., 3:13 CV 1918 (JBA), 2016 WL 155002 (D. Conn. Jan. 1, 2016)

Plaintiffs sought to compel production of all 38,000 documents hit by agreed-upon search terms.  Following review for relevance and privilege, Defendant produced only 2,214 pages “of which 274 pages consisted of copies of the complaints, with exhibits, filed in this lawsuit.” The court declined to compel the production of all search hits, but acknowledged concerns regarding Defendant’s production based on documents produced by a third party.  Accordingly, the court ordered the parties to confer regarding variations of “sampling and iterative refinement” or “a quick peek protocol” of the documents hit by search terms and also indicated willingness to consider appointment of a Special Master to conduct a review of the documents at the expense of the parties.

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Citing Newly-Amended Rule 37(e), Court Vacates Prior Order Imposing Adverse Inference

Nuvasive, Inc. v. Madsen Med. Inc., No. 13cv2077 BTM(RBB), 2016 WL 305096 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2016)

In this case, the court granted Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider a prior order imposing an adverse inference for Plaintiff’s failure to preserve text messages, in light of new standards imposed under recently amended Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e).

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Magistrate Judge Applies Newly Amended Rule 37(e), Addresses Threshold Question of Whether At-Issue Emails were “Lost”

CAT3, LLC v. Black Lineage, Inc., No. 14 Civ. 5511 (AT) (JCF), 2016 WL 154116 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2016)

In this case, which raised “significant issues concerning the reach of newly amended Rule 37(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the standard of proof governing spoliation, and the relief appropriate for the destruction of electronically stored information,” Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV addressed Plaintiffs’ intentional alteration of relevant emails, as evidenced by the discovery of the original emails “which had been deleted, albeit not without leaving a digital imprint.” Finding that newly amended Rule 37 applied and that remedies were available pursuant to both subsections (e)(1) and (e)(2), the Magistrate Judge noted that “drastic sanctions are not mandatory” and ordered that Plaintiffs were precluded from relying on “their version” of the emails to demonstrate notice to Defendants of the use of the at-issue mark and that Plaintiffs would bear the “costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, incurred by the defendants in establishing the plaintiffs’ misconduct and in securing relief.”

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Court Concludes Defendant’s Request was “precisely the kind of disproportionate discovery that Rule 26—old or new—was intended to preclude.”

Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Merck & Co., Inc., No. 5:13-cv-04057-BLF, 2016 WL 146574 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2016)

In this case, the court addressed Defendant’s motion to compel production of additional discovery and, applying newly amended Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1), determined that Defendant’s request was “precisely the kind of disproportionate discovery that Rule 26—old or new—was intended to preclude.” Accordingly, the motion was denied.

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“The amendments may not look like a big deal at first glance, but they are.” – Chief Justice Roberts, 2015 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary

Chief Justice John Roberts has issued his annual report on the federal judiciary, focused primarily on the 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including a brief history of their development and discussion of their intended effects. Among other things, the report makes clear that the amendments “mark significant change, for both lawyers and judges, in the future conduct of civil trials.”  The report further counsels that:

The 2015 civil rules amendments are a major stride toward a better federal court system. But they will achieve the goal of Rule 1—“the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding”—only if the entire legal community, including the bench, bar, and legal academy, step up to the challenge of making real change.

A full copy of the report is available for download, here.

Absent Plaintiff’s Control of Emails in Employees’ Personal Accounts, Court Denies Motion to Compel

Matthew Enter., Inc. v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, No. 13-cv-04236-BLF, 2015 WL 8482256 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2015)

In this case, the court declined to compel production from Plaintiff’s employees’ personal email accounts because Plaintiff did not have control of the emails for purposes of discovery.  As to the contents of Plaintiff’s “customer communications database” maintained by a third party vendor, however, the court found that Plaintiff did have control of the ESI, as evidenced by the prior production of certain data at Plaintiff’s request.

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Court Applies Amended Rule 26, Concludes Burdens on Parties Resisting Discovery Have Not Fundamentally Changed

Carr v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., No.3:15-cv-1026-M, 2015 WL 8010920 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 7, 2015)

In this case, the court addressed Defendant’s Motion to Compel discovery responses and undertook substantial analysis of the effects of newly amended Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 on the burdens of parties’ resisting discovery, concluding they had not fundamentally changed.

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In Criminal Case, Failure to Preserve Results in Exclusion of All Text Messages, Possible Adverse Inference

United States v. Vaughn, No. 14-23 (JLL), 2015 WL 6948577 (D.N.J. Nov. 10, 2015)

In this criminal case, a pro se defendant sought sanctions, including dismissal of the indictment, for the Government’s failure to preserve text messages relevant to its investigation.  Upon examination of the facts, including the Government’s acknowledged failure to preserve certain text messages and constantly changing explanations surrounding that failure as well as the “different level of diligence” applied to different text messages (care was taken to preserve certain messages, but not others), the court determined sanctions were warranted.  Accordingly, the court ordered that the Government would be precluded from using any text messages in its case-in-chief and reserved judgment until trial regarding the propriety of an adverse inference instruction.

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Electronic Discovery Law Blog Named to ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (Again!)

The e-Discovery Analysis & Technology (e-DAT) Group at K&L Gates is proud to announce that the Electronic Discovery Law blog has again been named to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 list. Thanks to all who nominated us and to all of our readers for their ongoing interest in the important issues affecting electronic discovery!

Click here to read more about the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 list and to see this year’s list of excellent legal blogs and 2015 Hall of Fame inductees.

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