Responding parties have significant discretion to design and deploy technology assisted review (“TAR”) workflows in a manner they determine is reasonable and proportional for the case. At least that’s what the Northern District of Illinois suggested in its September 2020 ruling in Livingston v. City of Chicago (N.D. Ill. No. 16 CV 10156).
Livingston is a gender discrimination case challenging the City of Chicago’s Fire Department’s (“City”) application process. The City collected roughly 1.5 million documents in the matter, and based on search terms agreed to following an earlier e-discovery dispute, culled this set to roughly 192,000 emails. The City then informed Plaintiffs it intended to use TAR – and specifically Relativity’s Active Learning technology – to review this culled data set.
Plaintiffs objected to this approach and argued the City should be required to produce all documents that hit on search terms. On this point, the Court rejected Plaintiffs’ argument, finding: “While the City may dump all 1.3 million pages of documents on Plaintiffs with entry of a Rule 502(d) order, it also has the right to perform a review to produce only those documents that are responsive and relevant.” (Emphasis added.) In the alternative, Plaintiffs argued that if the City were allowed to use TAR, TAR should be run across the entire ESI collection, not the universe culled by search terms.
Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim ruled that the City was permitted to use TAR on its culled search universe. In reaching this decision, the Court made several notable findings:
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