Electronic Discovery

Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys, Part Five

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Why Does Production Have to be Such a Big Production?, which we will cover as part of a webcast on May 29.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys titled (oddly enough) Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Tuesday, part two was last Thursday, part three was Monday and part four was Wednesday, here is the fifth and final part.

Conclusions

Finally, I asked several of our stalwarts to address the questions I posed back in the Introduction to this article.

With regards to the question “Do symmetrical cases (both parties producing comparable discovery) differ from asymmetrical cases (one side has vast majority of discovery) that much in terms of strategy?”, Craig said:

“Plaintiffs mistakenly assume they don’t have anything to preserve, process and search.  They often have much more than counsel appreciate yet lack wherewithal to deal with it.  Plaintiffs’ lawyers who fail to bring the same diligence and skill they demand from the defense to their own client’s data are easy targets for costly do-overs and serious sanctions.  Defense counsel often harbor the same mistaken assumptions about asymmetry and fail to exploit this pressure point.  That luck won’t last, so plaintiffs’ lawyers better get on the stick when it comes to defensible legal holds, collection, processing and review.”

Craig had also addressed the question “Are plaintiffs more interested in expanding the scope of production (to get more potential evidence) or avoiding the old “document dump” because they don’t have the resources?  Or does it depend on the type of plaintiff?” with his comments on shortsightedness by saying:

“… plaintiffs’ lawyers tend to rashly agree to almost anything to get something.  They accede to bad protocols, shoddy searches and dumbed-down forms of production by being in too big a hurry to get their hands-on production and start taking depositions.” 

With regards to the question “Are plaintiffs more motivated to request native files than defendants because they are more invested in using the metadata?”, all our experts agree that plaintiffs want native files more than defendants because they want the original metadata while defendants are far more likely to already have invested substantial sums in database technology into which they have loaded their data and can use that to screen their productions.

Lastly, with regards to question “Does the EDRM model seem more like a defense model than a plaintiff model, given that it is more focused on producing then presenting?  Should there be a model for requesting parties?”, our experts felt it leaned towards a defense model not because it was more focused on producing then presenting, but because the people who first originated it and later promoted it were defense oriented so that was their natural inclination.

A larger problem for plaintiffs’ attorneys beyond the EDRM focus is changing their paradigm from documents to data. As Craig Ball noted:

“Plaintiffs’ lawyers are hamstrung by paper presumptions unsuited to a digital universe. Lacking insight into modern information systems, they don’t know how to fight back like coders instead of cavemen.  So, they flail and whine that the production ‘just feels like it should be more’ without being able to articulate why and how or produce evidence to support their motions – crucially lacking the ability to educate the bench and secure relief.  Plaintiffs get run over roughshod trying to argue what they need to prove.”

So, what do you think?  Are you a plaintiff’s attorney?  If so, what are your biggest eDiscovery challenges?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

eDiscovery Daily will resume with new posts on Tuesday, after the Memorial Day weekend.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Court Sanctions US Government for Spoliation in Copyright Infringement Case: eDiscovery Case Law

In 4DD Holdings, LLC v. U.S., No. 15-945C (Fed. Cl. May 10, 2019), the US Court of Federal Claims, in an opinion issued by Judge Bruggink, “grant[ed] plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions because the government destroyed relevant evidence that it had a duty to preserve.”  The Court directed the plaintiffs to “file a motion, appropriately supported, seeking a recovery of its costs and fees related to the motion for sanctions and with respect to discovery prompted by the destruction of evidence” and indicated it would “defer until summary judgment or trial the application of the evidentiary implications of this ruling.”  The court also denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss “[b]ecause plaintiffs established that the government authorized or consented to SMS’s allegedly infringing activity when working in SMS labs.”

Case Background

In this copyright infringement case involving installation of the plaintiff’s software in excess of the purchased license, the DoD’s Defense Health Agency (“DHA”) “repeatedly” required its contractor Systems Made Simple, Inc. (“SMS”) to perform work using the plaintiff’s copyrighted software in the contractor’s own labs.  The agency purchased a software license from the plaintiff’s reseller for 64 cores and the plaintiff’s End User License Agreement (“EULA”) permitted “the agency to make ‘one (1) copy of the object code to [TETRA] solely for back-up purposes,’ which it could only use ‘if the original copy is damaged or destroyed.’”  The agency also required the plaintiff to disable its software tracking feature to inform it of a software installation.

However, the Chief Engineer on the project (David Calvin) acknowledged in both his July 2018 declaration and his October 2018 deposition that work by SMS would have involved cloning TETRA virtual machines in their labs.  And, in August 2014, the plaintiff contacted the Contracting Officer’s Representative (Sheila Swenson) alleging that more than 64 cores were in use.  In September, Calvin directed the removal of instances of the plaintiff’s software in certain environments.  By December 2014, the agency “identified an over deployment of 168 core licenses to development servers.”  Nonetheless, Swenson reported 64 cores in use because that was the number of cores the agency had originally paid for.  In March 2015, the agency modified the license to increase the licensed quantity by 168 cores.

The plaintiff filed suit in August 2015. On September 9, 2015, the Department of Justice sent a letter to alert DoD of its responsibility to provide a litigation report and to furnish all evidence in DoD’s possession, stating “all records storage centers and other facilities where records are kept be immediately notified to forthwith identify, physically segregate and withhold from destruction all documents and papers touching upon the claims set forth in the complaint.”  Nonetheless, the agency’s Development Test Center (“DTC”) proceeded with a shredding of hard drives later that same month.  In addition, most of the laptops in use related to the project were returned and reimaged months after the litigation hold notice was issued, destroying any data related to the case they might have contained.  As discovery wound down, plaintiffs filed a motion for sanctions in November 2018.

Court Ruling

The Court found that “SMS was acting (1) “for the Government” and (2) “with the authorization or consent of the Government” when it performed any infringing activity in SMS labs.”  As a result, the Court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

With regard to the plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions, the Court said: “The parties agree on the key events: The agency deleted instances of TETRA during the true-up period without informing 4DD. The agency destroyed the DTC servers’ hard drives. The agency erased all the information on many laptops used on the DMIX project.”  With regard to the DTC servers, the Court ruled that “Mr. Calvin’s orders directing contractors to delete instances of TETRA in listed environments because of ‘a license issue’ is sufficient to demonstrate that he intentionally deprived 4DD of the use of that information in litigation.”  But, the Court also noted that the “DTC decommissioning and laptop reimaging are not as clear cut”, ruling that “communication failure is undoubtedly negligent but falls short of the intentional behavior expected under Rule 37(e)(2)”.

Nonetheless, the Court “grant[ed] plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions because the government destroyed relevant evidence that it had a duty to preserve” and directed the plaintiffs to “file a motion, appropriately supported, seeking a recovery of its costs and fees related to the motion for sanctions and with respect to discovery prompted by the destruction of evidence” and indicated it would “defer until summary judgment or trial the application of the evidentiary implications of this ruling.”

So, what do you think?  Do you think the court ruled correctly on the intent to deprive standard for Rule 37(e)(2) in this case?  Please let us know if any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Case opinion link courtesy of eDiscovery Assistant.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys, Part Four

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Why Does Production Have to be Such a Big Production?, which we will cover as part of a webcast on May 29.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys titled (oddly enough) Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Tuesday, part two was last Thursday and part three was Monday, here is the fourth part.

Lack of Competence Challenges

The next most popular choice for plaintiff eDiscovery pain points was lack of competence. This point was reflected in several different ways. Craig Ball stated it most directly when he called it “the big one” and noted the failings in the Plaintiffs’ bar by saying:

“Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been slow to integrate eDiscovery into their practices, so few plaintiffs’ lawyers are conversant in the argot and processes of eDiscovery.  This isn’t a slam.  Defense lawyers can call on resources unavailable to plaintiffs’ lawyers.  A defense firm will have an eDiscovery specialist or practice group to guide them and may be able to draw on resources supplied by an insurance carrier or the client’s IT staff and the client’s in-house eDiscovery workflows, tools and teams.  How many plaintiffs’ lawyers can responsibly delegate eDiscovery to their clients?  How many have eDiscovery specialists as full-time staffers?”

But clearly, he felt the Plaintiffs’ bar wasn’t picking up the slack in those shortcomings by becoming ESI proficient themselves. As he put it, “The answers are out there; but they’re not going to find the lawyers.  The lawyers have to look for them.”

Bob Eisenberg also felt it was an often-overlooked problem with the defense side, calling it a “… lack of eDiscovery expertise and interest …”

The answer tied most closely to competence was lack of tools and/or training.  Bob linked it to his answer on competence, saying that the lack of competence:

“… results, in many instances, in a failure to deploy, on an in house basis (as opposed to transactionally), necessary eDiscovery technical tools and over-reliance on outside expertise which can result in unnecessarily costly services when eDiscovery is required and problems arising from little or no in house expertise to oversee and assure both the validity and cost-efficiency of eDiscovery.”

Craig was quite specific as to the reason this was an issue when he termed it this way:

“Virtually no one offers eDiscovery training geared to the scale, needs and resources of plaintiffs’ lawyers. The Willie Sutton Rule applies.  Service providers, CLE providers, software developers, all tend to go where they think the money is, being the big firms and big corporations.  Providers shy away from plaintiffs’ lawyers out of fear of being blackballed by corporate clients and, understandably, because plaintiffs’ lawyers need more handholding and support.  Too, the collection, processing and review tools on the market are frequently priced out-of-reach to the solo and small firm practitioner and geared to the needs of producing parties.  Without tools and foundational training to explore ESI, plaintiffs’ lawyers can’t get closer to competence.”

The issue of protocols did have several mentions and was specifically called out by Jean and Drew.  Jean felt that too often protocols were misused, often being conflated with confidentiality or protective orders. Drew went even further and said that agreeing on an exchange protocol was too often “…like birthing a baby..”.

Ariana referenced the issue when she noted as her second issue “Data dumps in various formats without explanation or corresponding load files, select metadata, OCR, etc.”

For specific issues by an expert, Bob referred to a lack of understanding of their own internal IG systems by many defense counsel. Craig addressed what he called “shortsightedness” by Plaintiffs, which he described as their strong belief that “… if only they can get to the defendants’ ‘documents,’ they can make their case and prevail. But as he goes on to say, “It’s not documents so much anymore; it’s data”, an observation clearly related to the competence issue.

Finally, Ariana bemoaned: “Inexperienced lawyers who choose not to reach out to those who have the experience, acumen, and wherewithal to go toe to toe with the opponent (especially if the opponent is sophisticated and/or is using a reliable service provider) will find themselves at a serious disadvantage.”

We’ll publish Part 5 – Conclusions – on Friday.

So, what do you think?  Are you a plaintiff’s attorney?  If so, what are your biggest eDiscovery challenges?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

FTC Calling for National Data Privacy Law: Data Privacy Trends

Sure, we’ve talked about California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).  And, we’ve also noted that there are at least 15 state data privacy laws that are working their way through the legislative process.  But, is there anybody pushing for a national data privacy law?  At least one Federal agency is doing so.

According to Naked Security (FTC renews call for single federal privacy law, written by Lisa Vaas – with hat tip to Sharon Nelson and the excellent Ride the Lightning blog), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is again “beating the drum” for the long-discussed and much-debated national data privacy law, the lack of which keeps the country from parity with the EU and its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or with the various states (including California) that are working on their own laws.

Earlier this month, FTC commissioners testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee and as reported by The New York Times, they addressed how a national privacy law could regulate how big tech companies like Facebook and Google collect and handle user data.  Of course, besides consumer protection, the FTC is looking for more power. Commissioners asked Congress to strengthen the agency’s ability to police violations, asking for more resources and greater authority to impose penalties.

In February, both the House and Senate held hearings on privacy legislation, transparency about how data is collected and shared, and the stiffening of penalties for data-handling violations.  A number of lawmakers agree that we need a new, single federal privacy law and they are now considering several laws and bills, including the Data Care Act and the American Data Dissemination Act.  One senator even proposed a bill that would throw execs into jail for up to 20 years if they play “loosey-goosey” with consumer privacy.  Yeah, that’ll happen.

With the FTC in settlement talks with Facebook following its 13-month investigation into privacy violations stemming from the Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle, there are certainly plenty of reasons to pass legislation to standardize the handling of data privacy breaches.  All we have to do is to get Congress to agree on it.  Easy, right?  ;o)

So, what do you think?  Do we need a national data privacy law similar to Europe’s GDPR?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys, Part Three

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Why Does Production Have to be Such a Big Production?, which we will cover as part of a webcast on May 29.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys titled (oddly enough) Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Tuesday and part two was last Thursday, here is the third part.

Cooperation Challenges

Now let’s turn to some of the individual responses.  As I mentioned in part two, the most popular choice for plaintiff eDiscovery pain points was cooperation. Bob Eisenberg, like several others, had an answer that bordered on the protocol issue, saying that:

“… there is, it seems, frequently, an almost cavalier attitude to understanding eDiscovery technical aspects and a lack of necessary skills in connection with the subject of forms of production, for instance. This sometimes extends to eDiscovery jurisprudence, as well and leads to inefficiencies and lack of defensibility in the production of ESI.”

Drew had a similar response in saying that the lack of cooperation was often manifested in a “hard line attitude” with a common approach by defense teams of saying that their proposal was an  “…industry preferred standard” with no room for negotiation or, alternatively, wrangling over minutiae of details such as metadata or load file separators.

Both Jean and Ariana mentioned the example of a repeated insistence on the use of search terms in the blind by Defense teams. As Ariana stated,

“Application of search terms that are unilaterally selected by and applied by opponent with production that follows without QC/validation/testing and then the inevitable erected proportionality argument by the opponent that it need do no more.”

Craig had an interesting response that seemed to address cooperation so I counted it there, when he said that,

“As well, plaintiffs’ lawyers do an abysmal job of drafting requests with the specificity and precision needed to forestall successful proportionality objections.”

Finally, both Craig and Drew had an answer that addressed motion practice, Craig with his reference to the ongoing use of outdated boilerplate pleadings by both sides and Drew with his comment regarding “an increased focus by Defense teams on arguing ‘discovery about discovery’ motions, especially with regard to 30(b)(6) depositions.”

We’ll publish Part 4 – Lack of Competence Challenges – on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Are you a plaintiff’s attorney?  If so, what are your biggest eDiscovery challenges?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Court Establishes Search Protocol to Address Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel: eDiscovery Case Law

In Lawson v. Spirit Aerosystems, Inc., No. 18-1100-EFM-ADM (D. Kan. Apr. 26, 2019), Kansas Magistrate Judge Angel D. Mitchell granted in part and denied in part the plaintiff’s motion to compel, ordering the defendant to produce documents related to two requests and, with regard to a third request, ordering the defendant to “produce these documents to the extent that such documents are captured by the ESI search protocol.”

Case Background

This case regarded the defendant’s alleged breach of a retirement agreement with the plaintiff due to plans by an investment firm to install the plaintiff as CEO of an aircraft component manufacturer (“Arconic”) where the defendant withheld the plaintiff’s retirement benefits because the defendant claimed that he violated the non-compete provision in his retirement agreement.

In discovery, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel, seeking “the court’s intervention regarding discovery related to the “Business” of Spirit and Arconic. Specifically, Mr. Lawson asks the court to compel Spirit to produce (1) its contracts with Boeing and Airbus; (2) its antitrust filings relating to its planned acquisition of Asco Industries; (3) documents related to the aspects of Spirit’s business that Spirit alleges overlap with Arconic’s business; and (4) documents related to Spirit’s relationship with Arconic.”  At a subsequent hearing, the plaintiff clarified that he was not seeking to compel the full scope of documents sought in the original Requests for Production, but rather only the smaller subset of documents that were the subject of his motion to compel.

Judge’s Ruling

With regard to the Boeing and Airbus Contracts, Judge Mitchell granted the plaintiff’s motion “with respect to the portions of these contracts (or amendments, addenda, exhibits, schedules, data compilations, or lists) that relate to Spirit’s deliverables to Boeing and Airbus.”  And, with regard to Antitrust Filings, Judge Mitchell granted the plaintiff’s motion “with respect to the portion of these filings relating to Spirit’s business and market/marketing positioning, including the index(es) for these filings, the “4(c) documents,” and related white papers.”  He ordered the defendant to produce documents related to both categories “on or before May 7, 2019.”

With regard to Product Overlaps and Spirit’s Relationship with Arconic, Judge Mitchell granted these aspects of the motion in part and denied them in part, ordering the defendant to “produce these documents to the extent that such documents are captured by the ESI search protocol.”  That protocol was as follows:

“After consultation with the parties, the court orders the parties to comply with the following ESI search protocol:

  • By May 3, 2019, Mr. Lawson shall identify up to seven categories of documents for which it seeks ESI.
  • By May 20, 2019, for each category of documents, Spirit shall serve a list of the top three custodians most likely to have relevant ESI, from the most likely to the least likely, along with a brief explanation as to why Spirit believes each custodian will have relevant information.
  • By May 23, 2019, Mr. Lawson shall serve a list of five custodians and proposed search terms for each custodian.

 *3 • Spirit shall search the identified custodians’ ESI using these proposed search terms. Spirit shall use sampling techniques to assess whether the search has produced an unreasonably large number of non-responsive or irrelevant results and, if so, Spirit shall suggest modified search terms (e.g., different keywords, negative search restrictions, etc.) by May 30, 2019.

  • The parties shall meet and confer about search terms and try to achieve an estimated responsive hit rate of at least 85%.
  • Spirit shall produce responsive documents from the first five custodians on or before June 21, 2019.
  • Meanwhile, the parties shall begin this same process for the next five custodians. By May 30, 2019, Mr. Lawson will produce to Spirit a list of the next five custodians and proposed search terms for each custodian. If Spirit finds that the estimated responsive hit rate is not at or above 85%, Mr. Lawson shall suggest modified search terms by June 6, 2019. The court will set a deadline for Spirit to produce documents from the second set of five custodians at a later time.

If Mr. Lawson wishes to seek ESI from additional custodians beyond the ten described in this protocol, the parties are directed to contact the court for further guidance.”

Judge Mitchell also denied the plaintiff’s request to order the defendant to pay his attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the motion to compel.

So, what do you think?  Do you think the ordered responsive hit rate of 85% is reasonable?  Please let us know if any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Case opinion link courtesy of eDiscovery Assistant.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys, Part Two

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Why Does Production Have to be Such a Big Production?, which we will cover as part of a webcast on May 29.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys titled (oddly enough) Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was Tuesday, here is the second part.

Top Three eDiscovery Pain Points Experienced by Plaintiff’s Attorneys

With regard to my question regarding the top 3 pain points in plaintiffs’ eDiscovery work, I thought that the most common answer or problem would be something technical such as exchange protocols and/or load files.  But the clear winner was actually cooperation. The issue of protocols came in behind that along with competence, followed by lack of tools.  After that each of the people responding had an answer somewhat unique to themselves.

Here are the actual answers from each of the experts regarding the top 3 pain points for plaintiffs:

  • Craig: Short Sightedness, Competence, No tools/training
  • Bob: Cavalier Attitude, No knowledge of IG, Lack of tools
  • Drew: Cooperation, Protocols, Motion practice
  • Jean: Producing party issues, Protocols, Search terms
  • Ariana: Competence, Data Dumps, Search terms

Before I look at each of the responses, I should note that Craig Ball had a very insightful overview about the general differences between plaintiff and defense firms in eDiscovery.

“The challenges faced by plaintiffs’ lawyers confronted by eDiscovery flow from structural differences in practice.  Plaintiffs’ lawyers operate as small firms and solos who finance their cases and are compensated on contingency.  So, plaintiffs’ lawyers tend toward frugality (as they are spending their own money) and shy away from capital expenditures that cannot be reliably expensed against the matter. Plaintiffs’ lawyers tend not to possess (or need) the costly in-house IT operations of large defense firms and, crucially, plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t have large support staffs for IT and litigation support because the cost of same can’t be spread across hundreds or thousands of lawyers.”

“Without in-house eDiscovery teams at the ready, plaintiffs’ lawyers are more apt to “wing it” or seek expertise only when obliged to do so on an ad hoc basis.”

We’ll publish Part 3 – Cooperation Challenges – next Monday.

Also, just a reminder that CloudNine will be the Scarlett sponsor of the Murder in the Manor charity fundraiser hosted by Oasis Discovery to be held tonight(!) at The Mansion on O Street in Washington DC (2020 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036).  CloudNine will be running the Speakeasy, where drinks will be available and a lot of fun will be had.  And, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which is the largest public, non-profit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets – it’s not too late!  You can even buy tickets at the door!  And, remember, it’s for a great cause.

So, what do you think?  Are you a plaintiff’s attorney?  If so, what are your biggest eDiscovery challenges?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Are You Making Enough Money as an eDiscovery Professional?: eDiscovery Trends

Geez, if that blog post title doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.  ;o)  The answer is: of course not!  But, how do you demonstrate to your boss that you deserve a raise?  Leave to Rob Robinson and another “mashup” to give you the data you need to make your point!

In his excellent Complex Discovery blog, Rob has just published a 2019 Legal Technology Salary Mashup.  As Rob notes, “the 2019 Legal Technology Salary Mashup shares an aggregation of general salary data points from publicly available research, reports, and industry observations that may be beneficial for use by legal technology leaders as they source and staff talent to support their data discovery and legal discovery business objectives… While not all-inclusive of roles, locations, and data sources, [it] represents one interpretation of publicly available salary information and is organized and presented through the lens of twenty-seven organizational roles, a national salary average, and four regionalized salary adjustments.”  Those regions are West (SF), Southwest (Austin), Midwest (Chicago) and East (NYC).

The organizational roles range from eDiscovery Document Coder (at a US baseline of $51,000) all the way up to Director of Information Technology ($240,000).  Roles include Developer, Product Manager and Project Manager (two tier levels for each of those positions), eDiscovery Sales Manager, eDiscovery Consultant, Marketing Director, Forensic Analyst/Specialist, even Data Scientist.  A comprehensive list.

Rob uses publicly available content from several sources to arrive at the “mashup”:

  • Builtin.com
  • Comparably.com
  • Dice.com
  • ESP Legal
  • Robert Half Legal
  • TechCrunch
  • The Cowen Group
  • The U.S. Government: Social Security Administration
  • TRU Staffing Partners
  • Industry Observer Estimations (Multiple Observers)

So, if you have one of these roles in your organization and you’re wondering how your pay stacks up to others in the industry throughout the country, you can check that out here.  You might find that it’s time to go hit up the boss for a raise!

Also, just a reminder that CloudNine will be the Scarlett sponsor of the Murder in the Manor charity fundraiser hosted by Oasis Discovery to be held May 16th (that’s tomorrow!) at The Mansion on O Street in Washington DC (2020 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036).  CloudNine will be running the Speakeasy, where drinks will be available and a lot of fun will be had.  And, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which is the largest public, non-profit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets – it’s not too late!  Remember, it’s for a great cause.

So, what do you think?  Are you getting paid what you deserve?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Why Does Production Have to be Such a Big Production?, which we will cover as part of a webcast on May 29.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys titled (oddly enough) Biggest eDiscovery Challenges Facing Plaintiff’s Attorneys that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into five parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.

Introduction

Approximately 2/3 of my consulting practice revolves around issues with ESI production. Much of that work involves asymmetrical cases where one side, typically corporate defendants, has the vast majority of discovery. And since my experience is not untypical, what we see in eDiscovery practice is a heavy focus in the eDiscovery world on defense strategy, both in actual practice and educational conferences.

But what about strategy for the Plaintiff’s bar? Do they have different even dramatically different needs simply because they have less ESI?  In discussing this article, I was asked the following questions which we will consider below:

  • Do symmetrical cases (both parties producing comparable discovery) differ from asymmetrical cases (one side has vast majority of discovery) that much in terms of strategy?
  • Are plaintiffs more interested in expanding the scope of production (to get more potential evidence) or avoiding the old “document dump” because they don’t have the resources? Or does it depend on the type of plaintiff?
  • Are plaintiffs more motivated to request native files than defendants because they are more invested in using the metadata?
  • Does the EDRM model seem more like a defense model than a plaintiff model, given that it is more focused on producing then presenting? Should there be a model for requesting parties?

To research this issue, I decided to begin by asking several attorneys with Plaintiffs’ side experience, past and present, the following question, “What would you say are your top 3 pain points in plaintiffs’ eDiscovery work?”

My query went to the following attorneys:

  • Craig Ball, well known consultant, ESI expert, Special Master, former plaintiffs’ attorney and author of the Ball in Your Court blog;
  • Ariana Tadler, Managing Partner at Milberg Tadler Phillips Grossman LLP & Founding Principal at Meta-e Discover
  • Bob Eisenberg, Director, eDiscovery & Information Governance at Larson Security LLC and Program Director at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (CMLaw) eDiscovery Professional Certificate Program
  • Drew Ashby, Wrongful Death and Catastrophic Injury Trial Attorney at The Cooper Firm
  • Jean Martin, head of the Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group in Wilmington, North Carolina

In this paper, we will take a look at their responses and comments regarding the biggest eDiscovery challenges facing plaintiff’s attorneys, as follows:

  1. Top Three eDiscovery Pain Points Experienced by Plaintiff’s Attorneys
  2. Cooperation Challenges
  3. Lack of Competence Challenges
  4. Conclusions

We’ll publish Part 2 – Top Three eDiscovery Pain Points Experienced by Plaintiff’s Attorneys – on Thursday.

Also, just a reminder that CloudNine will be the Scarlett sponsor of the Murder in the Manor charity fundraiser hosted by Oasis Discovery to be held this Thursday, May 16th at The Mansion on O Street in Washington DC (2020 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036).  CloudNine will be running the Speakeasy, where drinks will be available and a lot of fun will be had.  And, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which is the largest public, non-profit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets.  Remember, it’s for a great cause.

So, what do you think?  Are you a plaintiff’s attorney?  If so, what are your biggest eDiscovery challenges?  As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Why Do Hackers Hack? It’s About the Money, Apparently: Cybersecurity Trends

Big surprise there, right?  So says the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which analyzes the reported cybersecurity and data breach incidents for the year.  According to this year’s report, senior C-level executives are 12 times more likely to be the target of social engineering attacks, and 9 times more likely to be the target of social breaches than in previous years, with financial motivation the key driver in these attacks.

Many of the attacks on C-level executives are phishing attacks, often where the hackers pose as the CEO, eventually asking for a financial transfer to be conducted to a certain account (I wrote about an attempt I received earlier this year).  As I wrote in that article, marking emails coming from an external source with an “*** External Email ***” marker inserted into the received email has helped us at CloudNine identify those phishing instances.

As always, this year’s report has some interesting findings.  Here are some of them from the 78-page PDF report:

  • They are reporting on over 41,686 incidents and 2,013 confirmed data breaches, both numbers were down this year from last year;
  • 69% of reported breaches were perpetrated by outsiders, 34% by internal actors (last year, the ratio was 73%-28%);
  • 39% of breaches were carried out by organized criminal groups, down 11% from last year;
  • 23% of breaches involved actors identified as nation-state or state-affiliated, up 11% from last year;
  • Who was affected? 16% were breaches of public sector entities, 15% of breaches affected healthcare organizations, 10% of breaches involved the financial industry and 43% of victims are categorized as small businesses.  While that is the highest category, it is 15% lower than last year.
  • How do they get you? 52% of breaches featured hacking, 33% were social attacks (nearly double last year’s 17%), 28% included malware, 21% of breaches had errors as causal events, 15% involved misuse by authorized users and 4% of breaches involved physical actions.
  • Also, 71% of breaches were financially motivated, 25% of breaches were motivated by the gain of strategic advantage (espionage), 32% of breaches involved phishing, 29% of breaches involved use of stolen credentials and 56% of breaches took months or longer to discover. While that number seems remarkable, it is 12% down from last year’s 68%.

As always, the report is chock full of graphics and statistics which makes it easier to read than the size of the report indicates and covers everything from social attacks to ransomware to denial of service to incident classification patterns and coverage of data breaches and other incidents in several industries.

You can download a copy of the report here.  Believe it or not, this is our fifth(!) year covering the report (previous reports covered here, here, here and here).  Enjoy!

Also, just a reminder that CloudNine will be the Scarlett sponsor of the Murder in the Manor charity fundraiser hosted by Oasis Discovery to be held May 16th at The Mansion on O Street in Washington DC (2020 O Street NW, Washington, DC 20036).  CloudNine will be running the Speakeasy, where drinks will be available and a lot of fun will be had.  And, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), which is the largest public, non-profit hunger and nutrition education resource in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets.  Remember, it’s for a great cause.

So, what do you think?  Have you ever experienced any data breaches, either personally or professionally?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.