Archive: 2011

1
The Rules Have Moved!
2
Court Denies Motion to Re-Tax Costs Related to Conversion of ESI, Including Costs for “Project Management”
3
Court Acknowledges Calls for Caution when Applying “Proportionality Test” to Preservation, Denies Motion for Protective Order
4
Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Tweet Rulings
5
District Court Allows Taxation of Costs Related to Electronic Discovery
6
Privilege Waived for Failure to take “Reasonable Means” to Preserve Confidentiality
7
Cloud Computing Case Clarifies Applicability of U.S. Privacy Law to Non-U.S. Nationals
8
Court Sanctions Defendants for Elaborate Spoliation, Declines to Sanction Misled Counsel Unaware of “What was Going on Behind the Scenes”
9
E-Discovery Model Order Now Available for Patent Cases
10
Now Available: The Sedona Conference® Cooperation Proclamation: Resources for the Judiciary (Public Comment Version)

The Rules Have Moved!

If you’re looking for a list of State or Local District Court Rules addressing electronic discovery, please click the link “Local District Court Rules” or “State Court Rules” on the left-hand side of this page.

Court Denies Motion to Re-Tax Costs Related to Conversion of ESI, Including Costs for “Project Management”

Jardin v. DATAllegro, Inc., No. 08-CV-1462-IEG (WVG), 2011 WL 4835742 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 12, 2011)

Here, the court denied Plaintiff’s “motion to stay, deny, or re-tax the Clerk’s taxation of costs awarded to Defendants.”  Specifically, the court declined to deny or re-tax costs awarded for converting data to the .TIFF format or to deny or re-tax costs related to a project manager who “oversaw the process of converting data to the .TIFF format to prevent inconsistent or duplicative processing.”  Regarding the latter, the court reasoned that “[b]ecause the project manager’s duties were limited to the physical production of data, the related costs are recoverable.” 

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Court Acknowledges Calls for Caution when Applying “Proportionality Test” to Preservation, Denies Motion for Protective Order

Pippins v. KPMG LLP, No. 11 Civ. 0377 (CM)(JLC), 2011 WL 4701849 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 7, 2011)

KPMG sought a protective order to limit the scope of its preservation obligation or to shift a portion of its preservation costs to plaintiffs.  At the time, the parties awaited ruling on plaintiffs’ Motion to Certify and KPMG was preserving more than 2,500 hard drives at a cost of more than $1,500,000.  Following the court’s analysis, the motion was denied.

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Tweet Rulings

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts issued a press release Tuesday announcing that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has established a Twitter feed to "increase online access to its rulings:" 

The specially designated site will provide instant notification of the online posting of most Supreme Court information, such as orders, new rules, opinions and concurring and dissenting statements written by the justices.  Anyone can sign-up to receive alerts from the Court’s Twitter page, which can be accessed at http://twitter.com/SupremeCtofPA.  “Follow Us On Twitter” links also will appear on the state court system’s Web site to take interested parties directly to the page.

To read the full press release, click here.

District Court Allows Taxation of Costs Related to Electronic Discovery

In re Aspartame Antitrust Litig., 817 F. Supp. 2d (E.D. Pa. 2011)

In this case, the court addressed plaintiffs’ motion to deny or reduce defendants’ bill of costs, and in particular their objections to the costs related to electronic discovery.  Recognizing that “taxing e-discovery is a new area of law where courts have diverged in their approaches,” the court denied plaintiff’s motion as to many of the costs at issue but did disallow or reduce some costs, including those incurred for the convenience of counsel.

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Privilege Waived for Failure to take “Reasonable Means” to Preserve Confidentiality

Pacific Coast Steel, Inc. v. Leany, No. 2:09-cv-12190-KJD-PAL, 2011 WL 4573243 (D. Nev. Sept. 30, 2011)

Plaintiffs purchased the assets of several companies in which Defendant Leany had an ownership interest and hired him as an Executive Vice President of Pacific Coast Steel (“PCS”).  Leany was eventually terminated and his computer seized.  The privileged documents at issue in this opinion were either on Leany’s work computer at the time of his termination or had been migrated to a PCS server from one of defendants’ servers that was purchased by the plaintiffs.  When litigation ensued, defendants sought the return of the privileged documents in plaintiffs’ possession and a protective order prohibiting inquiry into certain areas related to those documents.  The court declined to grant the protective order upon finding that defendants’ privilege was waived because of their failure to “take reasonable means to preserve the confidentiality of the privileged information.”

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Cloud Computing Case Clarifies Applicability of U.S. Privacy Law to Non-U.S. Nationals

By: Susan Altman, K&L Gates, Pittsburgh

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in its October 3, 2011 decision in Suzlon Energy Ltd v. Microsoft Corporation, has taken another step in defining the rights of people to protect their emails from being disclosed in civil court proceedings.  The question before the Suzlon court was whether a party can require a U.S. electronic communication service provider to produce emails stored on a U.S. server for the account of a non-U.S. national without regard to the safeguards and restrictions imposed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA).  The court answered with a clear “no,” stating that the protections of the ECPA against unrestricted disclosure of emails by an electronic communication service provider apply to non-U.S. nationals as well as to U.S. citizens.

To continue reading, click here (and be taken to K&L Gates’ Legal Cloud Central Blog).

Court Sanctions Defendants for Elaborate Spoliation, Declines to Sanction Misled Counsel Unaware of “What was Going on Behind the Scenes”

United Cent. Bank v. Kanan Fashions, Inc., No. 10 CV 331, 2011 WL 4396912 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2011); United Cent. Bank v. Kanan Fashions, Inc., No. 10 C 331, 2011 WL 4396856 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 21, 2011)

In this case, the magistrate judge recommended sanctions against defendants for their bad faith spoliation of a relevant server where the evidence strongly suggested that defendants arranged for the sale of the server to company in Dubai, which resulted in the unavailability of its admittedly relevant contents.  The magistrate judge declined to sanction defendants’ attorneys, however, where the evidence indicated that they made efforts to ensure preservation but were misled by their clients and unaware “of what was going on behind the scenes.”

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E-Discovery Model Order Now Available for Patent Cases

Please Note:  Since the date of the original post, the Model Order has been removed from the Federal Circuit’s website.  The following statement now appears on the web page of the Advisory Council for the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit:

The Advisory Council published model orders concerning e-discovery and limitations on claims and prior art, and posted a disclaimer that the Court did not approve the model orders.  To avoid the risk of any misperception that the Court has endorsed or taken any position on the model orders through the Advisory Council, or otherwise, the Advisory Council confirms that it does not sponsor or endorse orders.

The above statement also provides a link to further explanation, which states in full:

Model orders concerning e-discovery and limitations on claims and prior art were posted on the court’s website.  Those orders have now been removed since the court has not sponsored or endorsed the orders.  In light of the court’s determination, the advisory council should not be viewed as having sponsored or endorsed these orders on behalf of the court.

A link to the Advisory Council’s web page containing the above statements is available, here.

 

During his speech at the E.D. Texas Judicial Conference on Tuesday, Chief Judge Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit introduced the new Model Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases.  Per Chief Judge Rader, the goal of the model order is to “streamline e-discovery, particularly email production, and require litigants to focus on the proper purpose of discovery—the gathering of material information—rather than on unlimited fishing expeditions.”

The model order, which contains 14 specific provisions, addresses a myriad of topics including cost shifting, metadata, and the treatment of privileged information (e.g., inadvertent production does not result in waiver).  As indicated, however, the majority of the provisions address the discovery of email.  For example, the model order provides that “[g]eneral ESI production requests under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 34 and 45 shall not include email or other forms of electronic correspondence (collectively ‘email’)” and that “[t]o obtain email, parties must propound specific email production requests.”  Moreover, those requests “shall only be propounded for specific issues, rather than general discovery of a product or business.”  The model order further provides that email production “shall be phased to occur after the parties have exchanged initial disclosures and basic documentation about the patents, the prior art, the accused instrumentalities, and the relevant finances.”  Also within the model order is a limitation on the number of custodians per producing party from which email may be requested (5) and on the number of search terms “per custodian per party” (5), although the parties may jointly agree to modify those limits.

A copy of Chief Judge Rader’s comments at the Judicial Conference is available here.

A full copy of the [Model] Order Regarding E-Discovery in Patent Cases is available here.

Now Available: The Sedona Conference® Cooperation Proclamation: Resources for the Judiciary (Public Comment Version)

Last month The Sedona Conference made available a public comment version of its newest publication, The Sedona Conference® Cooperation Proclamation: Resources for the Judiciary (“The Resources”).  The Resources “are intended to assemble and promote a variety of proven judicial management tools to help parties develop and execute appropriate, cost-effective, cooperative discovery plans; avoid unnecessary discovery disputes; and resolve discovery disputes that may arise in a fair and expeditious manner.”  The publication, a wealth of information in itself, is part of a larger effort by The Sedona Conference® to create an “interactive web site for judges to view, comment on, and contribute to over time.”  The Resources will:

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