EDRM and the Bolch Judicial Institute at Duke Law recently released Technology Assisted Review (TAR) Guidelines (Guidelines) with the aim “to objectively define and explain technology-assisted review for members of the judiciary and the legal profession.” Among the topics covered are the validation and reliability measures practitioners can use to defend their TAR processes. This post summarizes this validation and reliability guidance, which has the potential to be a widely-referenced authority on this topic going forward.

According to EDRM, there are no “bright-line rules” governing what constitutes a reasonable review or one standard measurement to validate the results of TAR. Instead, principles of reasonableness and proportionality as set forth in FRCP Rule 26 generally guide the inquiry.
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We are pleased to announce the publication of a report titled “Data Law Trends & Developments: E-Discovery, Privacy, Cyber-Security & Information Governance.” The report explores recent trends and anticipated future developments on critical issues related to the intersection of technology and the law, which affect a wide range of companies and industries. In addition, the report highlights key cases and issues to watch in 11 areas of data law, including: information governance, cybersecurity, social media, technology-assisted review, criminal law, regulatory, cooperation, privacy, cross border transfers, bring your own device (BYOD), and privilege.
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In a recent article published in Law360, Beware of Conditional Reponses to Discovery, Gregory J. Leighton, Kevin C. May, and Andrew S. Fraker of Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP discuss the growing number of cases in which federal judges have scrutinized conditional discovery responses—responses that assert objections but state that documents will be produced “subject to” or “reserving” the objections. Because the use of this type of response is commonplace, and because the potential consequences—including wholesale waiver of objections—suggested by recent decisions could be severe, the issue is worth careful consideration.
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The State Bar of California may soon deem an otherwise highly skilled attorney to be “incompetent” in the practice of law if he or she does not know the basic steps to take with respect to electronic discovery and does nothing to fill that gap in knowledge. On February 28, 2014, California’s State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct tentatively approved a Proposed Formal Interim Opinion for a 90-day public comment distribution, which analyzes a hypothetical fact pattern of an attorney who makes egregious mistakes in e-discovery.
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In a Valentine’s Day order, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York ruled that the defendants in a set of complex mortgage-backed securities cases could not use documents obtained through discovery in related litigation in the Central District of California. This even included documents that purportedly should have been produced in the New York cases. The court’s ruling rests primarily upon pragmatic notions of efficiency, fairness, and reasonableness—and its reasoning may prove useful beyond the four corners of these cases.

The New York cases are FHFA v. HSBC N. Am. Holdings, Inc., et al., Nos. 11 Civ. 6189, 6190, 6193, 6195, 6198, 6200, 6201, 6202, 6203, 6739, and 7010 (DLC) (S.D.N.Y.). (This litigation also has been referenced as FHFA v. UBS Americas Inc., No. 11 Civ. 5201, based on a component case that has since settled.) The California litigation includes FHFA v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 12-cv-1059-MRP (C.D. Cal.), among other cases.
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Last month, in In Re Pradaxa (Dabigatran Extexilate) Products Liability Litigation, a federal judge in the Southern District of Illinois ordered the defendants in a multi-district litigation (MDL) product liability case to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions for repeated and bad faith discovery violations, primarily based on the defendants’ failure to adequately preserve electronic files and text messages of key custodians. The court attributed many of the discovery failures to the “gross inadequacy” of the defendants’ litigation hold.

While the court’s decision to issue sanctions in this case is likely limited to the specific facts of this case – namely, the defendants’ reported multiple and repeated discovery failures – the case nonetheless demonstrates certain important considerations for litigants in assessing their preservation duty: (1) the need for potentially broad preservation efforts in large, complex cases; (2) the need to reassess and possibly expand preservation notices as litigation develops; (3) the potential value of coordinating with the other side, and possibly the court, on the scope and recipients of preservation notices; and (4) the potential need for specialized e-discovery counsel as challenges begin to accumulate.


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On October 1st, I attended an all-day series of presentations hosted by Huron Legal Institute and Sandpiper Legal LLP in New York, which included several leading federal jurists and well-regarded practitioners offering their insights.

The event featured five hypothetical cases covering a range of topics, with attorneys appearing before one of more of the judges to conduct a mock discovery conference or to argue motions. This structure proved to be an engaging means of discussing the issues, and the more astute members of the audience recognized that a couple of the scenarios were drawn from recent cases, including the Biomet case that I discussed a few months ago and Pippins v. KPMG, which we posted about last year. The format also played to the judges’ strengths, allowing them to tease out issues and express their opinions. While the discussion was “off the record”, I will discuss the overall themes and provide some highlights (without attribution) of the discussions of predictive coding and proposed amendments to the Federal Rules on proportionality and preservation.
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Document review often is the most expensive component of discovery in large, complex cases. Wouldn’t it be great if you could shift that cost to the party that requested the documents, along with the burden of performing the tedious, time-consuming review? Well, maybe you can. A federal magistrate judge in the N.D. Florida recently did exactly that.

In FDIC v. Brudnicki, No. 5:12-cv-00398, 2013 WL 2948098 (June 14, 2013) , the FDIC, as receiver for a bank, sued eight of the bank’s former directors, including one officer. The defendants moved to compel documents from the FDIC and sought sanctions against the FDIC “for delaying discovery.” Id. at *3. The FDIC had “agreed to produce responsive documents under a proposed protocol.” Id. at *4. The court observed, however: “The parties sharply disagree on the method of production and the ESI protocol.” Id.
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Ever since Magistrate Judge Peck’s decision last year in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe SA, 2012 WL 607412 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2012), there has been an increasing stream of orders and opinions weighing in on the use (or proposed use) of predictive coding. With each opinion, a new wrinkle appears, further shaping how parties are conducting technology assisted review during discovery.

Last month, Judge Robert Miller Jr., of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, joined this group with his order in In Re: Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL 2391). There he found reasonable the process that had been undertaken by defendant Biomet in a multi-district litigation, involving the use of keyword searches followed by predictive coding, despite complaints from the plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.
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More than seven months after the International Trade Commission proposed changes to its procedural rules relating to e-discovery “in order to increase the efficiency of its section 337 investigations” and “to address concerns that have arisen about the scope of discovery in Commission proceedings,” on May 21, 2013 the Commission issued final rules adopting the proposed amendments with some revisions. The new rules are applicable to investigations instituted after June 20, 2013. Section 337 investigations are administrative proceedings before the ITC, authorized under 19 U.S.C § 1337, to determine whether there has been unfair competition—typically patent infringement—in the importation of articles into the U.S. The only remedy is injunctive relief, typically an order excluding the articles from entry into the U.S. The amended rules are intended “to reduce expensive, inefficient, unjustified, or unnecessary discovery practices in” Section 337 proceedings.
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