Electronic Discovery

Attractive businesswoman holds magnifying glass, isolated

In Pennsylvania, testifying experts usually are not deposed before trial; typically, their written reports are provided in advance of trial and delineate the substance and scope of their testimony. Attorneys often wish to communicate with their client’s expert and comment on drafts of the reports. Until April 2014, the law was not clear whether these communications were discoverable. This uncertainty made it problematic and potentially perilous for a party’s attorney to communicate with the party’s testifying expert, particularly in advance of the disclosure of the expert’s report. In Barrick v. Holy Spirit Hosp. of the Sisters of Christian Charity, No. 2014 WL 1688447 (Pa. Apr. 29, 2014), the Justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania took up the issue of the discovery of attorney-expert communications and split 3-3. This left intact the Superior Court’s bright-line rule preventing discovery of attorney-expert communications—a rule now to be applied by Pennsylvania trial courts.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Are Attorney-Expert Communications Discoverable in Pennsylvania? (Almost never) — Some Clarity from the Appellate Courts”

ediscovery

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.

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Gavel

On July 14, 2014, the Court in United States v. University of Nebraska at Kearny (No. 4:11CV3209) took a significant step in support of Federal Rules 1 and 26. Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart denied plaintiff’s motion to compel defendants to use plaintiffs’ proposed search terms to cull electronically stored information (ESI) for review and production. The Court’s order effectively discharged defendants’ obligation to produce any ESI. And the Court issued this order notwithstanding both that 1) the parties had agreed to a stipulation summarizing protocol for the production of ESI shortly after the outset of the case, and 2) plaintiff previously produced ESI as part of its production to defendants’ discovery requests. In short, plaintiffs’ unwillingness to fairly compromise as to the breadth of search terms aimed at reasonably limiting the scope of ESI production came back to bite.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tread Lightly: eDiscovery Greed May Leave You With None At All”


Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (my former boss)

* Virginia is for lovers — gay and straight alike. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen (E.D. Va.) just struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage (but stayed her ruling pending appeal). Happy Valentine’s Day! [Washington Post]

* The Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, issued a major Second Amendment ruling. Is it correct, and what will happen next? Professor Eugene Volokh shares his thoughts. [Volokh Conspiracy; Volokh Conspiracy]

* Which leading law firms are trying to make the Comcast/Time Warner Cable monstrosity into reality? [American Lawyer]

* Did a Biglaw firm make a big-time mistake by blowing a deadline to appeal a $40 million verdict? [Law360 (sub. req.)]

* Speaking of screw-ups, making them in the e-discovery realm can be costly — a lesson that California is learning the hard way, to the tune of $32 million. [ACEDS]

* Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin thought he’d be acquitted; he thought wrong. [ABA Journal]

* George Washington wasn’t a member of the one of the 8 magic groups — but his story still illustrates the truth of The Triple Package (affiliate link), according to Washington biographer Logan Beirne. [Fox News]

* Authorities have made an arrest for the package bombing that killed a retired Tennessee lawyer and his wife. [CNN]

I found today’s piece on contract attorneys interesting, given that I just attended an e-discovery CLE program run by a local firm (Ward Greenberg) last week. The program centered around the practicalities and ethics of e-discovery and the case law surrounding those topics.

I admit to being taken aback at how times have changed since I was utilizing an OCR viewer to review documents while searching for keywords to code. Those were the days. As mentioned in the contract attorney column, doc review was a sure way to meet and exceed billable-hour targets simply by doing essentially monkey work. And the firms were all too happy to bill me at out at hundreds of dollars per hour for looking over repetitive and duplicative documents.

Now that I am in-house, I would have a conniption fit if a firm tried to pull such a stunt — and I don’t think many firms would….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Brave New World of Electronic Discovery”

Things continue looking up for Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. A few weeks ago, he finally got some of his assets unfrozen so he could throw some dollars in John Quinn’s direction.

Yesterday, he unveiled the teaser for his new music product, known as Megabox. And this morning, he earned an extensive personal apology from New Zealand’s prime minister. Apparently the Kiwi equivalent of the American National Security Administration had unlawfully spied on Dotcom, and Prime Minister John Key said the “basic errors” involved in the mistake were appalling.

Huh, so that’s what it sounds like when a government isn’t “acting as a proxy for private commercial interests”….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “MegaMeltdown: New Zealand’s Prime Minister Apologizes to Kim Dotcom”

After months of living under house arrest and frozen assets, Megaupload leader Kim Dotcom has finally won a multimillion dollar victory in New Zealand court — one that will unfreeze some of his money and allow him to sell off some of his luxury cars so he can pay his attorneys.

Not a glamorous win, by any means, but it is what it is.

The Justice Department’s prosecution has been riddled with problems almost from the case’s beginning, back in January. This is another setback in their attempts to curb file-sharing.

So how much of his money will Dotcom now be able to fork right over to his lawyers? And which cars can he sell?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Kim Dotcom Can Finally Pay His Lawyers; And There Will Be Much Rejoicing”

Last time we checked in with the crumbling prosecution of Megaupload, the massive cyber locker, and its similarly massive leader, Kim Dotcom, a New Zealand court had declared the search warrant served against Dotcom unconstitutional.

This week, the same judge has ruled that the United States government needs to let New Zealand see why exactly they want to extradite Dotcom. You know, so the country can decide if it’s really a good idea to turn over someone to a foreign government.

What a shocking request! Let’s keep reading to see the details of the ruling, as well as additional updates as to what Dotcom is doing to try to pay his lawyers, who thus far have not received a dime for their services….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The DOJ Wishes Megaupload Would Just Die Already”

As we mentioned yesterday in Morning Docket, Judge Marcia Gail Cooke (S.D. Fla.) recently issued an omnibus order on multiple motions for sanctions in the high-profile case of Coquina Investments v. TD Bank. The plaintiff, Coquina Investments, moved for sanctions related to various alleged discovery violations.

At a contempt hearing held back in May, Judge Cooke heard testimony from employees of TD Bank and current and former lawyers from Greenberg Traurig, which previously represented the bank. She took the matter under advisement — but not before saying things like, “It is hard for me to describe in words the difficulty throughout this trial related to documents and discovery.”

Now Her Honor has ruled. What did she decide?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: Judge Cooke Sanctions Greenberg Traurig and TD Bank”

Wet Hot American Document Review?

We get a lot of tips from attorneys lamenting bad job postings. Frankly, most of them don’t interest us that much. Yes, we’ve covered the SAUSA positions that don’t pay anything. We’ve covered all kinds of crazy Craigslist jobs, to the point where many of them don’t surprise us anymore.

But, I have to say, when a tipster writes in to tell us about an electronic discovery advertisement that is so hilariously bad she can’t tell if the organization wants “a lawyer or a camp counselor,” our interest is piqued…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “This ‘Refreshing’ Document Review Job Ad Is Actually Just Annoying And Unprofessional”

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