Archive: August 2015

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For Over-designation of “Highly Confidential” Documents, Court Orders Expedited Re-Review, Attorney’s Fees
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“[R]equiring each agency and thousands of officials to institute a litigation hold every time a party contemplates or even commences litigation against another agency would paralyze the State.”
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It’s Official: State Bar of California Issues Formal Opinion Addressing Ethical Duties of Counsel in e-Discovery
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For Reliance on Employees’ Self-Selection and Failure to Cooperate, Defendant Ordered to Produce Corporate Designee to Explain Retention Policies, Discovery Methods

For Over-designation of “Highly Confidential” Documents, Court Orders Expedited Re-Review, Attorney’s Fees

Procaps S.A. v. Patheon Inc., No. 12-24356-CIV-GOODMAN, 2015 WL 4430955 (S.D. Fla. July 20, 2015)

In this case, the court addressed Plaintiff’s designation of 95% of its forensically produced documents as “highly confidential” and, upon Defendant’s motion to compel Plaintiff to re-review and re-designate those documents, ordered that Defendant would be allowed to use all documents, regardless of their initial designation, unless the document was re-designated by the plaintiff in good faith within the short timeframe allowed by the court.  The court also ordered Plaintiff’s counsel to pay $25,000 in attorney’s fees.

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“[R]equiring each agency and thousands of officials to institute a litigation hold every time a party contemplates or even commences litigation against another agency would paralyze the State.”

Wandering Dago, Inc. v. N.Y. State Office of Gen. Servs., No. 1:13-CV-1053 (MAD/RFT), 2015 WL 3453321 (N.D.N.Y. May 29, 2015)

In this case, the court addressed “whether officials in one governmental agency and their Attorney can be sanctioned for the destruction of email(s), belonging to yet another governmental agency, via the New York State’s Email Retention Policy. Essentially, would such an occurrence constitute spoliation of evidence, and, if so, are sanctions warranted?” The court found the answer was “no.”

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It’s Official: State Bar of California Issues Formal Opinion Addressing Ethical Duties of Counsel in e-Discovery

Formal Opinion No. 2015-193 addresses the question: “What are an attorney’s ethical duties in the handling of discovery of electronically stored information?”

The opinion summarizes the answer as follows:

An attorney’s obligations under the ethical duty of competence evolve as new technologies develop and become integrated with the practice of law. Attorney competence related to litigation generally requires, among other things, and at a minimum, a basic understanding of, and facility with, issues relating to e-discovery, including the discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”). On a case-by-case basis, the duty of competence may require a higher level of technical knowledge and ability, depending on the e-discovery issues involved in a matter, and the nature of the ESI. Competency may require even a highly experienced attorney to seek assistance in some litigation matters involving ESI. An attorney lacking the required competence for e-discovery issues has three options: (1) acquire sufficient learning and skill before performance is required; (2) associate with or consult technical consultants or competent counsel; or (3) decline the client representation. Lack of competence in e-discovery issues also may lead to an ethical violation of an attorney’s duty of confidentiality.

To read the full opinion, click here.

For Reliance on Employees’ Self-Selection and Failure to Cooperate, Defendant Ordered to Produce Corporate Designee to Explain Retention Policies, Discovery Methods

Burd v. Ford Motor Co., No. 3:13-cv-20976, 2015 WL 4137915 (S.D. W. Va. July 8, 2015)

In this case, Defendant sought to quash Plaintiffs’ notice of deposition and entry of a protective order precluding Plaintiffs from deposing Defendant’s representative regarding Defendant’s document retention policies and practices and specific methodologies for identifying relevant information in the present case, including Defendant’s admitted reliance on custodian “self-selection.” Citing Plaintiffs’ concerns regarding the sufficiency of Defendant’s discovery efforts and Defendant’s refusal to cooperate and/or to disclose the search terms utilized by its custodians in their search efforts, the court denied Defendant’s requests for protection and ordered the defendant to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) witness to testify regarding “its document retention and destruction polices, and to supply details regarding the document search performed by [Defendant] to date.”

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