Blythe v. Bell, No. 11 CVS 933, 2012 WL 3061862 (N.C. Sup. Ct. July 26, 2012)

Key Insight: Where defendants hired an inexperienced vendor/consultant to identify potentially responsive ESI using search terms provided by plaintiffs and produced 3.5 million documents (which included privileged information) without further review save the attempted removal of documents containing the ?hickorylaw.com? extension (which proved unsuccessful), the court acknowledged a five-factor test to analyze the question of waiver, indicated the question of whether reasonable precautions were taken was controlling, and found that privilege had been waived where defendants’ efforts to guard against waiver were insufficient, particularly in light of the high volume of ESI which should have prompted more diligent efforts; court considered whether waiver was appropriate where defendants sought assistance from an outside consultant but found that counsel?s supervision of that consultant was insufficient: ?But, the court also concludes that efforts by a consultant demand a degree of oversight that is absent here.?

Electronic Data Involved: ESI

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