The California Court of Appeal recently provided rare guidance regarding a third party’s obligations to produce electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a subpoena. In Vasquez v. California School of Culinary Arts, Inc. (Sallie Mae) (August 27, 2014, B250600) Cal.App.4th (2014 WL 4793703), the court defined subpoenaed parties’ obligations to extract existing data from computer systems and upheld an award of attorneys’ fees against the recalcitrant third party. The court concluded that it is unreasonable for a third party to withhold ESI that exists in its computer systems on the basis that outputting the ESI entails creating a “new” spreadsheet.
Refuse to Provide Electronically Stored Information in Response to a Subpoena? You Could Face SanctionsBy W. George Wailes
- Christopher Christie, Death Penalty, Divorce Train Wrecks, Eric Holder, Law Schools, Morning Docket, New Jersey, Pets, State Judges
* Attorney General Eric Holder has until tomorrow to decide whether the government will seek the death penalty in the case against Dzhokhar Tsaernaev. Screw his fan clubs, he deserves it. [Associated Press]
* “Those who know me know I don’t like to lose.” Good thing he didn’t. Leo Strine was unanimously confirmed as Chief Justice of Delaware’s Supreme Court. We can’t wait to see what he’ll bring to his new bench. [Reuters]
* “[N]ominal relief does not necessarily a nominal victory make.” Any day that a lawyer can secure a $1 award for his client and a $34,772 award of fees for himself is a very successful day as a lawyer. [New York Law Journal]
* The mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, was sued, and she’s blaming Chris Christie and his allies for the whole thing. When the governor found out, he had just finished bringing about world peace. [Star-Ledger]
* Kansas Law will offer in-state tuition to people near Kansas City, Missouri. It must be hurting to fill its seats to make such an offer just because the city name has Kansas in it. [Kansas City Business Journal]
* George Zimmerman’s estranged wife, Shellie, is well on her way to getting a default judgment of divorce. She may be down one dog in her life, but she still wants custody of their two pets. [Orlando Sentinel]
The court will not countenance the gross overreaching evidenced under the facts and circumstances of this case in which the client is not even being billed for legal services. To move any court to put its imprimatur of approval on such practices is simply intolerable.
– Judge Frank Nervo, denying a Biglaw firm’s request for more than $126,000 in attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit over a $6,400 security deposit. Judge Nervo added that the firm spent “a grossly unnecessary amount of time” on simple tasks, including “research on the most basic and banal legal principles.”
(Which firm was on the receiving end of this benchslap? Find out after the jump, where we’ve posted the full opinion.)
- Antitrust, BAR/BRI, BP, Copyright, Family Law, Intellectual Property, Kids, Law Schools, Lunacy, Morning Docket, New Jersey, Rankings, SCOTUS, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns, Supreme Court
* Victoria Espinel, chief IP counsel to the White House (better known as the “copyright czar”), has stepped down. A tech or trade company will snap her up in 3… 2… [Corporate Counsel]
* Rather than watching people pump gas, BP is watching people pump out lawsuits against the company at a rather alarming rate as a result of its 2010 oil spill. [Businessweek]
* Cynthia Brim, the Illinois judge who was reelected despite the fact that she was legally insane, finally had a complaint filed against her by the state’s judicial board for being just a little bit too kooky for court. [Chicago Tribune]
* Your degree might not be worth a million dollars, but if you went to one of these schools, you probably got a good bank for your buck. We’ll have more on this later. [The Short List / U.S. News & World Report]
* The fight over attorneys’ fees in the antitrust lawsuits filed against BARBRI continues rage on, and class members still haven’t received a penny — which is all they’d really get, anyway. [National Law Journal]
* Congratulations to Newark Mayor and Yale Law alumnus Cory Booker! Last night, he handily won the New Jersey Democratic primary election for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s seat. [CBS News]
The fact that the billing rates of contract attorneys are in excess of what the law firm pays them is not unusual or untoward. That’s to cover overhead and have a profit built in.
– Ira Press, a partner at Kirby McInerney, offering commentary on the Citigroup billing frackas that’s made headlines of late. On average, the firm billed out contract attorneys who worked on the matter at about $465 an hour, but likely paid them just $60 to $75 an hour for their “special expertise” and services. Ted Frank, aka the Class Action Avenger, is not happy about all of this.
- 2nd Circuit, Billable Hours, Blog Wars, Blogging, Books, Citigroup, Holidays and Seasons, Judge of the Day, Law Schools, Non-Sequiturs, Securities Law, Sex, Sex Scandals, State Judges, State Judges Are Clowns, Wall Street
* To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter! Welcome the holiday by voting in the ABA Journal’s fifth annual “Peeps in Law” contest. [ABA Journal]
* If law firm brackets aren’t your thing, check out Professor Kyle Graham’s brackets for (1) law school classes and (2) law blogs. I’m thankful for ATL’s #1 seed but terrified by who we’re up against (because they’ve ripped me a new one before). [noncuratlex]
* Sorry, Judge Steiner, you wuz robbed; you should have been our Judge of the Day. It’s tough to top “allegations of a sexual quid pro quo with a female lawyer and the eye-opening confiscation of carpet from [chambers] for forensic analysis.” [OC Weekly]
* “William Shatner’s Seductive Powers Don’t Create a Fiduciary Duty.” Robyn Hagan Cain explains why. [U.S. Second Circuit / FindLaw]
* Citi settles securities cases for $730 million. Matt Levine is not impressed. [Dealbreaker]
* And Ted Frank is incensed by Bernstein Litowitz’s nine-figure fee request. [Point of Law]
* Steven Harper — author of a new (and very good) book about the legal profession, The Lawyer Bubble (affiliate link) — offers thoughts on the billable hour in the wake of the DLA Piper overbilling allegations. [New York Times]
* The latest update on the law school litigation front represents good news for New York Law School. [National Law Journal]
* No, silly polo mogul, you can’t adopt your 42-year-old girlfriend to shield your fortune from litigation. [ABA Journal]
* Replacing “barbers” with “beauty culturists”? This is Indiana and not California, right? [WSJ Law Blog]
- Abortion, Billable Hours, Gay Marriage, In-House Counsel, Politics, Practice Pointers, SCOTUS, Supreme Court
First, some random thoughts on the legal news of the week:
1) Who gives two ***** if gay folks get married? Or have the same rights as you and me? My goodness, if two people want to get married, God Bless them! And it is a civil rights issue; being told that you can’t have information on your partner’s hospital stay because of HIPAA is downright medieval. The pastor whose YouTube speech went viral after reading from anti-desegregation literature and turning it into an anti-gay marriage diatribe was probably the most brilliant argument in defense of gay marriage. Twenty years from now we’ll be saying: “Gay marriage? Meh, it’s really those damned ______ that we have to watch out for…” Hey, it’s America, **** yeah!!, every group gets a turn at being the downtrodden.
2) Don’t get me started on North Dakota’s draconian steps with regard to a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. Now see, it’s Holy Week and I probably can’t take communion.
3) This DLA Piper billing debacle? Makes me sick, and is a perfect segue into finishing my column from last week. I know I know, DLA came out and said, “Heh heh, we were just kidding. Those guys aren’t even around here anymore. Overbilling? Meh. Never happened, we promise.” What did you expect them to say?
I happen to know personally one of those mentioned in the story, and he was just as much a dim bulb back then, so it is no surprise that he wrote that stuff in an email. That he moved on to a partnership at another firm is no surprise either. I will say that he is infamous for leaving one of the funniest and most outrageous drunk
emails voicemails on a colleague’s phone early one morning. And he probably can’t figure out who he is from this blind item in any event. But, I digress, back to overbilling…