Archive: December 1, 2007

1
Williams v. ACS Consultant Co., Inc., 2007 WL 2822777 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 26, 2007)
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Tomlinson v. El Paso Corp., 245 F.R.D. 474 (D. Colo. 2007)
3
Tilton v. McGraw-Hill Cos., Inc., 2007 WL 3229157 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 30, 2007)
4
Peterson v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 2007 WL 3232501 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2007
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Hunts Point Realty Corp. v. Pacifico, 2007 WL 2304859 (N.Y. Sup. July 24, 2007)
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In re Kmart, 371 B.R. 823 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2007)
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In re Krause, 367 B.R. 740 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2007)
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Guy Chem. Co., Inc. v. Romaco AG, 243 F.R.D. 310 (N.D. Ind. 2007)
9
Haka v. Lincoln County, 246 F.R.D. 577 (W.D. Wis. 2007)
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Solow v. Aspect Res., LLC, 2007 WL 3256944 (Del. Ch. Oct. 30, 2007)

Williams v. ACS Consultant Co., Inc., 2007 WL 2822777 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 26, 2007)

Key Insight: Although spoliation was shown based on individual plaintiff’s failure to return laptop to defendant for approximately seven months after court first ordered him to do so, destruction of files and other information and use of file-deletion and free-space wiping products on laptop, court denied motion to dismiss complaint as spoliation sanction because prejudice to defendant was not established — three months of discovery remained and it was not clear that defendant would not be able to obtain much of the evidence sought

Nature of Case: Racial discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment and wrongful termination

Electronic Data Involved: Employer-issued laptop

Tomlinson v. El Paso Corp., 245 F.R.D. 474 (D. Colo. 2007)

Key Insight: Court rejected defendants’ claim that they had no control over third party’s ?computerized infrastructure? and ordered production of electronic pension plan records by defendants; because ERISA sets out employer’s responsibilities for the proper maintenance and retention of pension and welfare plan records and employer cannot delegate those duties, records maintained by third party were in “possession, custody or control” of defendants for purposes of discovery

Nature of Case: Claims under ERISA

Electronic Data Involved: Pension and welfare plan records maintained by third party

Tilton v. McGraw-Hill Cos., Inc., 2007 WL 3229157 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 30, 2007)

Key Insight: Where defendants had not shown that plaintiff’s initial disclosures or discovery responses were incomplete or incorrect and parties were not subject to any court order requiring them to produce documents created after the discovery deadline, and applicable legal authority was scant and fairly debatable, court declined to decide whether plaintiff was required to produce emails created after the close of discovery and ruled that plaintiff?s conduct was not sanctionable

Nature of Case: Plaintiff sued publisher alleging breach of a promise to keep his name and employer confidential

Electronic Data Involved: Email created after close of discovery

Peterson v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 2007 WL 3232501 (C.D. Ill. Nov. 1, 2007

Key Insight: Court granted in part plaintiffs’ motion to enter and inspect crossing area and directed defendant to arrange for an employee to be on-site during the inspection to provide a download of all available date from event recorders and other components and equipment of the crossing signal system stored on-site; court denied motion to compel production of particular employee’s computer since the computer had been returned to a vendor and defendant had already produced a copy of computer’s hard drive

Nature of Case: Claims arising from collision between freight train and automobile

Electronic Data Involved: Data from event recorders and other components and equipment of the crossing signal system

Hunts Point Realty Corp. v. Pacifico, 2007 WL 2304859 (N.Y. Sup. July 24, 2007)

Key Insight: Although court concluded that plaintiff had not adequately proven damages under any theory and thus damage award was zero, court found that defendant’s “unabashed flaunting of this Court’s preservation order” in failing to preserve emails resulted in additional work by plaintiffs’ counsel and the court, and as sanction, court awarded attorneys’ fees and costs for all work done by counsel related to defendant’s failure to preserve email

Nature of Case: Breach of contract

Electronic Data Involved: Email

In re Kmart, 371 B.R. 823 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 2007)

Key Insight: Kmart’s failure to implement litigation hold and “woefully insufficient” efforts to retrieve responsive information did not warrant spoliation sanctions on present record and would be denied without prejudice to creditor’s renewing it in the future should evidence support it; court awarded creditor portion of attorneys’ fees and costs and ordered Kmart, to the extent it had not already done so, to perform a systematic search of all files on certain drives and produce responsive material to counsel within 14 days of order

Nature of Case: Creditor asserted breach of contract and other claims against Chapter 11 debtor in possession

Electronic Data Involved: Email and other ESI

In re Krause, 367 B.R. 740 (Bankr. D. Kan. 2007)

Key Insight: As sanction for debtor?s deliberate and intentional use of a wiping software program on computers after learning that court was ordering their production, and because of severe prejudice to trustee and government, court entered partial default judgment against debtor and ordered debtor to turn over all computers, portable storage devices and any backups within 10 days of order, and to execute any waivers or authorizations necessary for trustee and government to obtain assorted financial records; court further ordered that, if debtor did not comply within 10 days, bench warrant would issue for debtor?s apprehension and debtor would be incarcerated until he purged himself of contempt and complied with orders

Nature of Case: Government brought adversary proceeding against Chapter 7 debtor to except his tax debt from discharge and declare various entities his alter ego

Electronic Data Involved: Hard drives, email

Guy Chem. Co., Inc. v. Romaco AG, 243 F.R.D. 310 (N.D. Ind. 2007)

Key Insight: Where non-party used outside computer firm to handle its electronic data and estimated that cost to comply with subpoena would be $7,200, court found that data was “not reasonably accessible because of undue burden or cost” but ordered production in light of good cause shown, with cost of production to be paid by party who issued subpoena

Nature of Case: Breach of contract

Electronic Data Involved: Routine business documents stored electronically

Haka v. Lincoln County, 246 F.R.D. 577 (W.D. Wis. 2007)

Key Insight: Balancing relevant factors, court ruled that fairness and efficiency required parties to proceed with search for ESI incrementally and limited initial search to emails stored on hard drives; court instructed plaintiff to narrow his search terms, and any additional searches would occur only by joint agreement or court order; parties to share equally the costs of performing initial keyword search, but defendant to pay full cost of privilege/relevance review

Nature of Case: Employment litigation

Electronic Data Involved: Email and other ESI

Solow v. Aspect Res., LLC, 2007 WL 3256944 (Del. Ch. Oct. 30, 2007)

Key Insight: Where nonparty merely asserted, without adequate factual support, that compliance with the subpoena would cause it to incur ?significant expenses,? court denied nonparty?s request for costs for time spent by its employees configuring and executing electronic search and by attorneys reviewing results of search

Nature of Case: Breach of limited partnership agreement

Electronic Data Involved: Unspecified ESI

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