Electronic Discovery Law

Legal issues, news and best practices relating to the discovery of electronically stored information.

1
Eivaz v. Edwards, No. 12-C-910, 2014 WL 4698652 (E.D. Wis. Sep. 19, 2014)
2
Enargy Power (Shenzhen) Co. v. Xiaolong Wang, No. 13-11348-DJC, 2014 WL 4687542 (D. Mass. Sep. 17, 2014)
3
Pick v. City of Remsen, No. C 13-4041-MWB, 2014 WL 458732 (N.D. Iowa Sep. 15, 2014)
4
Freedman v. Weatherford Int?l Ltd., No. 12 Civ. 2121(LAK)(JCF), 2014 WL 4547039 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 12, 2014)
5
Lewis v. Bay Inds., Inc., No. 12-C-1204, 2014 WL 4925483 (E.D. Wis. Sep. 30, 2014)
6
Alter v. Rocky Pt. Sch. Dist., No. 13-1100 (JS)(AKT), 2014 WL 4966119 (E.D.N.Y. Sep. 30, 2014)
7
Fleming v. Escort, Inc., No. 1:12-CV-066-BLW, 2014 WL 4853033 (D. Idaho Sep. 29, 2014)
8
Abcon Assocs., Inc. v. Haas & Najarian, No. CV 12-928(LDW)(AKT), 2014 WL 4981440 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 6, 2014)
9
Chickadaunce v. Minott, No. 1:13-cv-01223-WTL-MJD, 2014 WL 4980547 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 6, 2014)
10
Siggers v. Campbell, No. 07-12495, 2014 WL 4978648 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 25, 2014)

Eivaz v. Edwards, No. 12-C-910, 2014 WL 4698652 (E.D. Wis. Sep. 19, 2014)

Key Insight: After considering the severity of plaintiff’s various discovery violations as well as the prejudice to defendants, and finding plaintiff’s violations of court order were willful and in bad faith, court: (1) granted defense motions for sanctions and dismissed plaintiff’s claims against defendants with prejudice, (2) ordered plaintiff to submit to a continued deposition for up to seven additional hours in the event defendant elected to pursue its counterclaim, and (3) ordered plaintiff and his attorney to pay additional attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by defendant in continuing plaintiff’s deposition and in bringing motion for sanctions

Nature of Case: Breach of contract, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment

Electronic Data Involved: Emails, text messages, financial documents

Enargy Power (Shenzhen) Co. v. Xiaolong Wang, No. 13-11348-DJC, 2014 WL 4687542 (D. Mass. Sep. 17, 2014)

Key Insight: Where defendants maintained hard copy business records that they produced electronically on CD-ROM, but did not make a sufficient showing that documents were produced as they were kept in the usual course of business since defendants provided no details regarding where and how documents were maintained, court ordered defendants to organize and label documents to correspond to the categories of documents requested by plaintiffs; court further ruled that defendants need not ?affirm that their document searches and productions are complete without qualification, or that no additional responsive documents exist,? but directed defendants, once they had completed their search and produced all documents they intended to produce, to confirm their efforts in locating responsive documents were complete and whether they were withholding any documents

Nature of Case: Violations of Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty

Electronic Data Involved: Hard copy documents scanned and produced on CD-ROM

Pick v. City of Remsen, No. C 13-4041-MWB, 2014 WL 458732 (N.D. Iowa Sep. 15, 2014)

Key Insight: District court affirmed magistrate judge’s order granting defendants’ motion for order requiring destruction of inadvertently-produced privileged email, rejecting plaintiff’s various objections and finding no clear error in magistrate judge’s application of five-step “middle of the road” analysis set forth in Hydroflow, Inc. v. Enidine Inc., 145 F.R.D. 626, 637 (W.D.N.Y. 1993) which considerations include: (1) reasonableness of precautions, (2) number of inadvertent disclosures, (3) extent of the disclosures, (4) timeliness of rectifying measures, and (5) overriding interest in justice

Nature of Case: Libel, slander, wrongful termination

Electronic Data Involved: Privileged email

Freedman v. Weatherford Int?l Ltd., No. 12 Civ. 2121(LAK)(JCF), 2014 WL 4547039 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 12, 2014)

Key Insight: Where plaintiffs offered 18 emails from “critical custodians” that were produced not by defendant but by a third party as new evidence to support motion for reconsideration of order denying motion to compel, court noted differences in search terms used in respective searches and opined that requests for discovery regarding a party?s discovery efforts should be ?closely scrutinized in light of the danger of extending the already costly and time consuming discovery process ad infinitum?; rejecting plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration, court observed: ??[T]he Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require perfection.? . . . Weatherford has reviewed ?millions of documents and [produced] hundreds of thousands,? comprising ?nearly 4.4 million pages? in this case. It is unsurprising that some relevant documents may have fallen through the cracks.?

Nature of Case: Putative class action alleging securities fraud

Electronic Data Involved: Email

Lewis v. Bay Inds., Inc., No. 12-C-1204, 2014 WL 4925483 (E.D. Wis. Sep. 30, 2014)

Key Insight: Where defendant had taken “extraordinary step” of handing over to plaintiff’s computer expert a mirror image copy of the company’s email server so that expert could conduct his own search, and none of the mostly irrelevant emails retrieved by expert provided support for plaintiff?s claims, and plaintiff failed to offer convincing evidence that defendant violated an order of the court or intentionally destroyed or concealed relevant evidence, court rejected plaintiff?s motion for spoliation sanctions and ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of defendant, dismissing all of plaintiff?s claims

Nature of Case: Unlawful retaliation and wrongful discharge claims

Electronic Data Involved: Email

Fleming v. Escort, Inc., No. 1:12-CV-066-BLW, 2014 WL 4853033 (D. Idaho Sep. 29, 2014)

Key Insight: Where allegations covered events occurring over past 15 years and defendant produced almost no email in response to 65 document requests and 12 interrogatories, and despite general claim of privilege defendant did not provide a privilege log, court granted plaintiff’s motion and ordered defendant to answer three questions to allow plaintiff and court to evaluate defendant’s claim that it had produced everything: 1) What search terms did you use? 2) What computers or repositories did you search within? and 3) What was the time frame for your search? If questions were not answered fully and completely in 10 days, plaintiff would be allowed to file a new motion for sanctions

Nature of Case: Patent infringement

Electronic Data Involved: Email

Abcon Assocs., Inc. v. Haas & Najarian, No. CV 12-928(LDW)(AKT), 2014 WL 4981440 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 6, 2014)

Key Insight: Where there was no evidence that plaintiff ever instituted litigation hold, and documents were either discarded during plaintiff?s office move or lost due to server failure and/or corruption, court found that a fair reading of the record overall indicated that plaintiff?s failure to preserve was at most negligent and not in bad faith, and that no sanctions were warranted given that the alleged relevance of the missing documents appeared purely speculative and conclusory

Nature of Case: Breach of legal services agreement

Electronic Data Involved: Documents concerning plaintiff’s liabilities and financial condition

Chickadaunce v. Minott, No. 1:13-cv-01223-WTL-MJD, 2014 WL 4980547 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 6, 2014)

Key Insight: Considering the totality of circumstances and balancing the highly relevant and probative value of the information sought with the slight burden to defendant of preparing a database of case files (estimated by defendant to be 15-20 hours), and taking into account society’s interest in furthering the truthseeking function in the case, court granted plaintiffs’ motion to compel and ordered defendants to produce database of electronic case files within 14 days

Nature of Case: Class of approximately 4,800 disabled individuals sued officials of Indiana Family & Social Services Administration alleging violations of Americans with Disabilities Act and other claims

Electronic Data Involved: Electronic case files of approximately 200 past and current class members

Siggers v. Campbell, No. 07-12495, 2014 WL 4978648 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 25, 2014)

Key Insight: Notwithstanding that litigation hold was not put into place until more than four years after complaint was filed, court denied plaintiff?s motion for spoliation sanctions where there was no evidence that defendant deleted any documents or evidence, or acted with an intent to conceal or destroy evidence, there was no evidence that defendant routinely exchanged email correspondence about plaintiff with others, and the vigorous work of plaintiff?s appointed counsel led to only one responsive email being produced; plaintiff would be allowed to question defendant at trial about her failure to timely impose a litigation hold and about other matters related to plaintiff?s assertion that she must have had relevant email communications that no longer exist

Nature of Case: Pro se prisoner civil rights claims

Electronic Data Involved: Emails

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