Tagged: Cost

Blowing Things Out of Proportion: S.D.N.Y. Finds Hyperlinked Documents Are Not Necessarily Attachments and Rejects a Revamping of Production Protocols

The Southern District of New York recently held that hyperlinked documents should not necessarily be considered “attachments” and declined to require a responding party to utilize a collection tool proposed by the requesting party, which would have collected all hyperlinked documents and maintained their familial relationship with the parent document. This is a novel and important issue that has not received such thorough treatment by other courts. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many employees to work from home and increasing the use of cloud-storage apps for documents, the issues related to the treatment of hyperlinked documents and litigants’ obligations in collecting and producing these documents are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. In Nichols v. Noom Inc., the plaintiffs initiated a class action suit against Noom for a litany of allegations centered around false advertising. Prior to commencing discovery, Noom agreed to collect and search relevant data from multiple Google App sources (i.e., Gmail, G-chat, Google Drive). The parties agreed to utilize Google Vault to collect the relevant documents from Google Drive, despite the fact that Google Vault would not be able to collect file path metadata for each document. Additionally, the parties never agreed to the method of collection for emails stored on Gmail. While Noom wanted to use Google Vault to collect the relevant emails,...

Getting Your Ducks in a Row: Court Stresses High Evidentiary Threshold for Rule 37 Sanctions and Cautions Against Precipitous Motions

A recent case out of the Middle District of Florida illustrates the importance for parties contemplating motions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 to first understand the high threshold required for the court to grant their motions and impose sanctions. Examining a barrage of sanction motions, the court highlighted that a party needs to present a strong factual record when seeking charges of spoliation, as it takes more than simple allegations of destruction or non-retention of evidence to find sanctions appropriate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 37. Further, the decision provides a clear-cut example of unnecessary costs incurred and wasted judicial resources resulting from the failure of the parties to cooperate throughout the discovery process. As discussed below, while a number of the parties in the litigation entered into an electronically stored information (ESI) protocol, it appears that many of the discovery disputes could have been avoided if certain key areas, including the temporal scope of the documents to be produced, were addressed in that protocol. In Centennial Bank v. ServisFirst Bank, Inc., several former employees allegedly violated non-compete provisions of their employment agreements with the plaintiff, Centennial Bank (“Centennial”), when they left to work for the defendant, ServisFirst Bank. Beginning in 2016, the protracted discovery in this litigation involved countless disputes ranging from the...

Avoiding Unnecessary Costs: Court Reminds Parties to Narrowly Tailor Discovery Requests

As previously highlighted by this blog, discovery is best effectuated through cooperation by the parties in a litigation. A baseline to cooperation is adhering to the discovery rules set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Supreme Court of Idaho recently issued a reminder to parties that discovery requests must be narrowly tailored in proportion to the needs of the litigation and that serving overly broad discovery requests is not a court-approved negotiation tactic. Further, prior to seeking court intervention, the parties should cooperate in an effort to resolve any discovery disputes by meeting and conferring with sincerity. In Oswald v. Costco Wholesale Corp., the plaintiff was struck by a car and pinned against another car in one of the defendant’s parking lots, causing significant and permanent injuries. The plaintiff sued the defendant, alleging the parking lot was unsafe in its design and construction. In discovery, the plaintiff propounded extremely broad discovery requests, requesting that the defendant disclose “on a nationwide basis any incident [involving] a vehicle impacting anything.” In turn, the defendant sought a protective order asserting the discovery requests were overly broad and unduly burdensome. The court agreed with the defendant, stating that the plaintiff inappropriately used the “hearing as a sort of negotiation whereby the court is expected to replace...

Predictable? — DOJ Approves Use of Predictive Coding in AB InBev-Grupo Modelo Merger Investigation

On May 6, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division approved Constellation Brands Inc.’s (“Constellation”) and Crown Imports LLC’s (“Crown”) request to use predictive coding to determine which documents were most relevant and responsive to the DOJ’s requests. Constellation is a potential buyer of assets from the huge AB InBev-Grupo Modelo merger, and Crown is a joint venture between Grupo Modelo and Constellation. Reportedly, Constellation and Crown identified in excess of one million documents that would require manual review before being handed over to the Justice Department for scrutiny. After several seed sets were run using the automated data review software and compared manually, DOJ was satisfied that the predictive coding software would identify the most relevant documents and approved its use. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the predictive coding software used by the parties was developed by kCura Corporation, a software vendor for many entities including DOJ.

New York State Courts Look to Adopt Rules Requiring Parties to Discuss E-Discovery at the Outset of Litigation

The E-Discovery Working Group has recommended changes to the New York State Court rules concerning e-discovery that would significantly expand litigants’ obligations to confer concerning anticipated e-discovery issues. Currently, only the rules that govern cases pending before the Commercial Division require that parties confer about expected e-discovery issues at the outset of a litigation. (See Section 202.70 Rule 8 of the Uniform Rules). The E-Discovery Working Group has not only recommended that this rule be expanded to include all New York State Courts, but also to provide specific guidance concerning what e-discovery issues ought to be discussed by the parties. These issues include identifying potentially relevant categories of data and relevant computer servers, implementing measures to preserve relevant information, agreeing to procedures for parties to recall any privileged information that they provide by accident and discussing the likely cost and allocation of e-discovery between the parties.

Leveling the E-Discovery Playing Field: Court Shifts Costs to Putative Class Action Plaintiffs Prior to Class Certification

In a case of first impression, a federal judge in Pennsylvania shifted the costs of e-discovery to the plaintiffs in a putative class action before deciding the issue of class certification. Addressing concerns of fairness to defendants in class actions, particularly given that the parties’ respective discovery burdens are “asymmetrical,” the Court held that the plaintiffs should bear the costs arising from their extensive discovery requests. The Court also considered the role of plaintiffs’ counsel as a participant in the process, noting that the plaintiffs are represented by a “very successful and well regarded” class action law firm and reasoning that if the plaintiffs “have confidence in their contention that the Court should certify the class, then plaintiffs and their lawyers should have no objection to making an investment.” Boeynaems v. LA Fitness Int’l, LLC.

Race to the High Court: Hoosier Racing Seeks High Court Review of Third Circuit’s Slashing of E-Discovery Cost Award

The skyrocketing costs of e-discovery in modern day litigation will now be getting at least some attention from the nation’s highest court. Not long ago we reported on a decision by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to slash recovery of costs by a prevailing party under 28 U.S.C. §1920 in Race Tires America, Inc., et al. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corporation et al., No. 11-2316 (3d Cir. Mar. 16, 2012). In Race Tires, the Third Circuit, while acknowledging a spilt in the circuits, held that costs sought and awarded under §1920 must bear a reasonable connection to duplication of materials in the traditional sense to be recoverable by a prevailing party. Thus, certain e-discovery vendor activities — including conversion of the native files to TIFF images, the scanning of documents for the purpose of creating digital duplicates and the copying of the videos to DVD — could be reimbursed under the statute, while others, like consultant’s charges for data collection, preservation, searching, culling, conversion, and production, could not.

Judge Peck Stays Defendant’s ESI Production in da Silva Moore Pending Resolution of Several Motions

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that the Monique da Silva Moore, et al. v. Publicis Groupe SA and MSL Group case, in which Magistrate Judge Peck authored the first opinion approving the use of predictive coding, is very contentious. You can read our latest entries discussing this controversial case from March 2 and May 16. It appears there is no sign the tension will abate anytime soon.

Predictive Coding Upheld by District Court: Judge Carter Endorses Judge Peck’s Approval of Computer-Assisted ESI Review

On March 2, 2012, we reported on Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck’s February 24, 2012 decision in Monique Da Silva Moore, et al., v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group, Civ. No. 11-1279 (ALC)(AJP) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2012), wherein Judge Peck issued the first judicial opinion approving the use of predictive coding “in appropriate cases.” On April 25, 2012, District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. rejected plaintiffs’ bid to overturn that decision, and cleared the way for the use of computer-assisted ESI review in this case and others.

Not So Fast: Race Tires Court Gives a Flat to Momentum for Broad ESI Cost Shifting Under 28 U.S.C. §1920

A Third Circuit Court of Appeals panel, including the Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie, one of the leading judicial authorities in e-discovery, has spoken — e-discovery-related cost recovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1920 has limits; the costs must bear a reasonable connection to duplication of materials in the traditional sense to be recoverable by a prevailing party. As the first United States Court of Appeals decision to directly address this closely watched issue, this opinion may disarm a potentially powerful weapon in the already limited arsenal of parties burdened with excessive e-discovery costs.