eDiscovery Daily Blog
2013 eDiscovery Year in Review: eDiscovery Case Law, Part 2
As we noted yesterday, eDiscoveryDaily published 78 posts related to eDiscovery case decisions and activities over the past year, covering 62 unique cases! Yesterday, we looked back at cases related to admissibility and eDiscovery cost reimbursement. Today, let’s take a look back at cases related to production format disputes, search disputes and technology assisted review.
We grouped those cases into common subject themes and will review them over the next few posts. Perhaps you missed some of these? Now is your chance to catch up!
PRODUCTION FORMAT DISPUTES
Disputes regarding the form of production appear to be on the rise. Typically, judges are instructing to provide searchable productions with metadata, but at least one judge ruled that “without Bates stamping and .tiff format, the plaintiff’s production was not reasonably usable”. Go figure. Here are the six cases involving production format disputes:
Court Declines to Impose Default Judgment, But Orders Searchable Production and Extends Deadlines. In Kwan Software Engineering, Inc. v. the defendant Technologies, LLC, California District Judge Susan Illston denied the plaintiff’s motion for terminating sanctions against the defendant for late, non-searchable productions, but did order the defendant to produce documents in a searchable format with metadata and extended the pretrial schedule so that the plaintiff would not be prejudiced by the late productions.
Court Denies Plaintiff’s Request for Native Production, Allows PDFs Instead. In Westdale Recap Props. v. Np/I&G Wakefield Commons, North Carolina Magistrate Judge James E. Gates upheld the plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendants to conduct supplemental searches and production, but denied the plaintiff’s motion with regard to requiring the defendant to produce ESI in native format, instead finding that “production in the form of searchable PDF’s is sufficient”.
Judge Sides with Both Parties in Form of Production Dispute. The opinion in Kwasniewski v. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC suggests that producing parties can satisfy their obligation to produce documents in an organized manner by offering a table of contents, rendering text searchable, indicating which data responds to which request, and including certain metadata, such as Bates numbers.
Defendant Compelled by Court to Produce Metadata. In AtHome Care, Inc. v. The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Idaho District Judge B. Lynn Winmill granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel documents, ordering the defendant to identify and produce metadata for the documents in this case.
Court Rules Production Must be TIFFs with Bates Numbers. In Branhaven, LLC v. Beeftek, Inc., Maryland Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey sanctioned plaintiff’s attorneys for wrongfully certifying the completeness of their eDiscovery production and also ruled that defendants “demonstrated that without Bates stamping and .tiff format”, the plaintiff’s production “was not reasonably usable and therefore was insufficient under Rule 34”.
Waste Management Wants to Throw Away the Metadata. In the case In Re: Waste Management of Texas, Inc., a Texas appeals court refused to grant Waste Management’s petition for writ of mandamus to direct the trial court to withdraw its order to produce native, electronic format with all metadata.
Disputes regarding search terms, with regard to which terms to perform and also whether search terms should be disclosed, were also on the rise this year. Believe it or not, one plaintiff referred to Boolean searching as “unprecedented”. Here are the five cases we covered regarding search term disputes:
Court Orders Plaintiff to Perform Some Requested Searches Despite the Plaintiff’s Claim that they’re “Unprecedented”. In Swanson v. ALZA Corp., California Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore granted in part and denied in part the defendant’s request to compel the plaintiff to apply its search terms to his ESI, ordering some of the search terms to be performed, despite the plaintiff’s assertion that the “the application of Boolean searches was unprecedented”.
Without Meet and Confer Approval of its “Triangulating” Approach to Discovery, Defendant Ordered to Supplement Production. In Banas v. Volcano Corp., California District Judge William H. Orrick determined that a defendant’s approach to discovery in which identifying the relevant documents by “triangulating” the defendant’s employees wasn’t discussed with the plaintiff beforehand in a meet and confer. Despite the fact that the court did “not find that defendant’s production technique was unreasonable”, the defendant was ordered to supplement its responses since the approach wasn’t discussed and it left out multiple deponents.
Use of Model Order Doesn’t Avoid Discovery Disputes. In MediaTek, Inc. v. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., when the parties could not agree on search terms, California Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley ordered one party to run test searches before lodging objections and required both parties to meet and confer before approaching the court with further discovery disputes.
If Production is Small, Does that Mean ESI is Being Withheld? In American Home Assurance Co. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co., Nebraska District Judge Lyle E. Strom ruled (among other things) that the defendants must disclose the sources it has searched (or intends to search) for electronically stored information (ESI) to the plaintiffs and, for each source, identify the search terms used.
Court Forces Defendant to Come to Terms with Plaintiff Search Request. In Robert Bosch LLC v. Snap-On, Inc., Michigan District Judge Robert H. Cleland granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel with regard to specific search terms requested for the defendant to perform. The judge denied the plaintiff’s request for sanctions to award attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in bringing its motion to compel.
TECHNOLOGY ASSISTED REVIEW
With technology assisted review having been approved in several cases in 2012, we started to see some results of that process last year and conclusion of the plaintiff’s efforts to recuse Judge Peck in DaSilva Moore. We also saw the approval of a multi-modal approach in one case and asked the question whether 31,000 missed relevant documents is an acceptable outcome in another. Here are six cases related to technology assisted review from 2013:
Plaintiffs’ Supreme Effort to Recuse Judge Peck in Da Silva Moore Denied. As we discussed back in July, attorneys representing lead plaintiff Monique Da Silva Moore and five other employees filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court arguing that New York Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck, who approved an eDiscovery protocol agreed to by the parties that included predictive coding technology, should have recused himself given his previous public statements expressing strong support of predictive coding. On October 7, that petition was denied by the Supreme Court.
Judge Says “Dude, Where’s Your CAR?” Ralph Losey describes a unique case in his e-Discovery Team ® blog (Poor Plaintiff’s Counsel, Can’t Even Find a CAR, Much Less Drive One). In Northstar Marine, Inc. v. Huffman, the defendant’s motion to enforce the parties’ document production agreement was granted after Alabama Magistrate Judge William E. Cassady rejected the plaintiff’s excuse that “it is having difficulty locating an inexpensive provider of electronic search technology to assist with discovery”.
Is it OK for an eDiscovery Vendor to Work on Both Sides of a Case? Back in June, we covered a case where the plaintiffs’ motion to compel the defendant to meet and confer to establish an agreed protocol for implementing the use of predictive coding software was dismissed (without prejudice) after the defendants stated that they were prepared to meet and confer with the plaintiffs and their non-disqualified ESI consultants regarding the defendants’ predictive coding process. The sticking point may be the ESI consultant in dispute.
Never Mind! Plaintiffs Not Required to Use Predictive Coding After All. Remember EORHB v. HOA Holdings, where, in a surprise ruling, both parties were instructed to use predictive coding by the judge? Well, the judge has changed his mind.
Plaintiffs’ Objections to Defendant’s Use of Keyword Search before Predictive Coding Rejected. In the case In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2391), the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in a Multi District Litigation objected to the defendant’s use of keyword searching prior to performing predictive coding and requested that the defendant go back to its original set of 19.5 million documents and repeat the predictive coding without performing keyword searching. Indiana District Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr. denied the request.
Is 31,000 Missed Relevant Documents an Acceptable Outcome? It might be, if the alternative is 62,000 missed relevant documents. In January, we reported on the first case for technology assisted review to be completed, Global Aerospace Inc., et al, v. Landow Aviation, L.P. dba Dulles Jet Center, et al, in which predictive coding was approved last April by Virginia State Circuit Court Judge James H. Chamblin. Now, as reported by the ABA Journal (by way of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog), we have an idea of the results from the predictive coding exercise.
Tune in Monday for more key cases of 2013!
So, what do you think? Did you miss any of these? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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