Archive: 2016

1
Singh et al. v. Hancock Natural Resources Group, Inc. et al. (E.D. Cal., 2016)
2
Sanctions Imposed for Failure to Preserve Call Recordings
3
Scott v. United States Postal Services, No. 15-712-BAJ-EWD (M.D. La. Dec. 27, 2016).
4
Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System v. Bank of America (District Court of Southern District of New York, 2016)
5
“Close” Question of Intentional Spoliation Sent to the Jury
6
Cahill v. Dart (N.D. Ill., 2016)
7
U.S. v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 1:06-CV-0547-AT, 2016 WL 7365195 (N.D. Ga. May 26, 2016)
8
Sky Med. Supply Inc. v. SCS Support Claim Serv. Inc., No. 12- 6383, 2016 WL 4703656 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 2016)
9
Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Chemoil Corp., 15-2199, 2016 WL 9051173 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 19, 2016)
10
RG Steel Sparrows Point LLC v. Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals Inc., No. WMN-09-1668, 2016 WL 1377405 (D. Md. Apr. 7, 2016)

Sanctions Imposed for Failure to Preserve Call Recordings

Sec. Alarm Fin. Enters., L.P. v. Alarm Protection Tech., LLC, No. 3:13-cv-00102-SLG, 2016 WL 7115911 (D. Alaska Dec. 6, 2016)

In this case, Plaintiff was sanctioned pursuant to Rule 37(e), as amended on December 1, 2015, for its failure to preserve relevant customer call recordings.

Plaintiff alleged that Defendant had “illegally ‘poached’” its customers and defamed the plaintiff. Defendant, in turn, alleged tortious interference with its contractual relationships and defamation by the plaintiff.  In the course of discovery, Plaintiff produced approximately 150 customer call recordings (out of “thousands”) that were “generally favorable” to it but, when asked, was unable to produce any others and claimed that the recordings were lost, apparently as the result of the “normal operation of a data retention policy.”  Defendant sought sanctions pursuant to amended Rule 37(e).

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Scott v. United States Postal Services, No. 15-712-BAJ-EWD (M.D. La. Dec. 27, 2016).

Key Insight: Defendants request for social media posts was too broad and needed to be even more specifically directed to claims in case.

Nature of Case: personal injury

Electronic Data Involved: Social Media Posts

Keywords: social media; scope

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Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System v. Bank of America (District Court of Southern District of New York, 2016)

Key Insight: whether billing temporary contract attorneys at the firm’s standard rates is excessive to award attorney fees

Nature of Case: Securities action

Electronic Data Involved: n/a

Keywords: attorney fees, lodestar, temporary associates

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“Close” Question of Intentional Spoliation Sent to the Jury

Cahill v. Dart, No. 13-cv-361, 2016 WL 7034139 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 2, 2016)

Following Plaintiff’s arrest for driving on a suspended license, an officer claimed he observed Plaintiff dropping a small package of cocaine while at a “County lockup” and charged him with felony possession.  Although defense counsel acted quickly to ensure preservation of surveillance video that Plaintiff believed would prove his innocence (because he claimed that he did not drop the package), only a portion of the video—which began after the package was on the floor—was available. After the charges were eventually dismissed, Plaintiff brought the present lawsuit and moved for sanctions.  The magistrate judge found that the failure to preserve was grossly negligent and caused substantial prejudice and recommended that Defendants be barred from making arguments or presenting evidence that the lost portion of the tape showed Plaintiff dropping the cocaine, but would allow testimony from one officer that he saw it happen.  Plaintiff objected.  Thereafter, the District Court adopted the recommendations of the magistrate judge, with modifications, concluding that the jury should be informed that the video was missing because of Defendants’ failure to fulfill their duty to preserve.  The court also ordered that Plaintiff would be allowed to argue that the destruction was intentional and that the jury would be instructed that IF they agreed, they must presume that the lost evidence was unfavorable to the defendants.

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U.S. v. Wells Fargo Bank, No. 1:06-CV-0547-AT, 2016 WL 7365195 (N.D. Ga. May 26, 2016)

Key Insight: The Court granted Defendant?s Motion for a Protective Order and held that under limited circumstances, a party may seek to share reasonable costs related to reviewing documents prior to their production. The Court considered vendor fees to be a valid target for cost-sharing under the facts of this case: discovery spanned more than a decade, the costs currently under review were a small fraction of the costs incurred by Defendant in discovery and there were no concerns that cost shifting would deter Relators or others. Further, Defendant showed that ?almost the entirety of its requested costs were incurred in attempting to respond to Relators? discovery requests, and not incurred as a result of a self-interested privilege review.?

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic mortgage loan files

Sky Med. Supply Inc. v. SCS Support Claim Serv. Inc., No. 12- 6383, 2016 WL 4703656 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 2016)

Key Insight: Magistrate judge denied defendant?s motion to compel plaintiff to organize and label its document production ?so that it corresponds to the categories in the request? because the discovery documents were immediately available for inspection at plaintiff counsel?s office in electronic format already organized, identifiable, and searchable by claim number; defendants needing only to execute claims number searches to identify documents. Thus, the court concluded that unless and until an inspection is undertaken and shown to be unduly burdensome, the plaintiff?s offer to permit inspection of database comports with ?both the letter and spirit of rule 34.?

Electronic Data Involved: ESI

Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Chemoil Corp., 15-2199, 2016 WL 9051173 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 19, 2016)

Key Insight: Court denied Defendant?s motion to compel production of emails from Plaintiff?s former employee where Plaintiff?s initial production included some communications from the at-issue employee, where Plaintiff had already conducted a second search that did not yield additional documents, where the emails of the former employee had been moved off of active servers thus requiring the initiation of disaster recovery protocols to conduct an additional search, and where the emails of other parties to the potentially relevant communications remained on the active servers and had also been searched; court also noted that Defendant had deposed the former employee for 6 hours

Electronic Data Involved: Email of former employee

RG Steel Sparrows Point LLC v. Kinder Morgan Bulk Terminals Inc., No. WMN-09-1668, 2016 WL 1377405 (D. Md. Apr. 7, 2016)

Key Insight: Court rejected reasoning that ESI-related costs were recoverable because ?the parties in this case agreed ? to the form of production for ESI? and found that ?the parties? stipulation regarding the production of ESI cannot make ESI-related costs ?necessary? ? unless the costs are copying costs? which the court was unable to discern from Plaintiff?s submission and thus the court declined to tax the ESI-related costs requested; court?s analysis noted 4th Circuit precedent indicating that ?making copies for purposes of cost recovery ? is expressly limited to the cost of converting native files to non-editable formats and copying those files onto discs.?

Electronic Data Involved: Taxable costs

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