All posts in Case Law

August 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Court Swiftly Denies Pop Star Defendant’s Motion for Adverse Inference, but Allows Defendant to Cross-Examine Plaintiff About Spoliation in Front of Jury
Mueller v. Swift, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112276 (D. Colo. July 19, 2017)

Potentially Relevant Documents, Marked as Non-responsive, Unable to Remain a Secret in Trade Secret Theft Case
Nachurs Alpine Sols., Corp. v. Banks, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104778 (N.D. Iowa July 7, 2017)

No Harm, No Foul: In Spoliation of Evidence Case, Court Unable to Apply Sanctions Without Prejudice
Snider v. Danfoss, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107591 (N.D. Ill. July 12, 2017)

Failure to Abide by Court’s Discovery Order Leads to Sanctions
Bird v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113455 (E.D. Cal. July 20, 2017)

Violation of Privacy is Not a Complete Defense: Supreme Court of California Grants Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Contact Information of Fellow Employees
Williams v. Superior Court, 2017 Cal. LEXIS 5124 (Cal. July 13, 2017)

July 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Court Orders Partial Cost-Shifting, with Plaintiff’s Counsel to Bear ESI Production Costs for Lack of “Meaningful Meet-and-Confer Sessions”
Bailey v. Brookdale Univ. Hosp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93093 (E.D.N.Y. June 16, 2017)

A Tale of Two Phones: Court Forbids “Fishing Expedition” for Deleted Personal Data on Employer-issued Cell Phone, but Authorizes Discovery of Relevant Data from Personal Cell Phone
Tingle v. Hebert, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88936 (M.D. La. June 8, 2017)

Court Finds Data Storage, Processing, Review and Production Costs as Non-Taxable in Post-Trial Motion
Wis. Alumni Research Found. v. Apple, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86418 (W.D. Wis. June 6, 2017)

Sanctions Motion Denied Where There is No Prejudice or Intent to Deprive and Documents Could Have Been Restored or Replaced Through Additional Discovery
Eshelman v. Puma Biotechnology, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87282 (E.D.N.C. June 7, 2017)

Court Denies Motion for Sanctions After Discovery Period Ends
Kennedy v. Supreme Forest Prods., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77005 (D. Conn. May 22, 2017)

June 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Should We Split It? Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Be Relieved from Discovery Costs
Hawa v. Coatesville Area Sch. Dist., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37675 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 16, 2017)

Hold Onto the Phone: Turning in Phone for Rebate has Preservation Consequences
Montgomery v. Iron Rooster-Annapolis, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71338 (D. Md. May 9, 2017)

Court Grants Terminating Spoliation Sanctions Due to Abusive Litigation Practices
OmniGen Research v. Wang, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78107 (D. Or. May 23, 2017)

Court Orders Parties to Meet and Confer to Determine Scope of Discovery Request
Elhannon v. F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58693 (D. Vt. Apr. 18, 2017)

Texas Supreme Court Weighs in on Native File Format Production
In re State Farm Lloyds, 2017 Tex. LEXIS 482 (Tex. May. 26, 2017)

May 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

The Court Denies the Plaintiff’s Patently Overbroad Discovery Requests
Rockwell Med., Inc. v. Richmond Bros., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57313 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 14, 2017)

Court “Rather Reluctantly” Intervenes in Discovery Dispute, Prefers the Use of TAR Before Culling by Search Terms
FCA US LLC v. Cummins, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45212 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 28, 2017)

Sanctions Decision Generates “Considerable Heat” and Split of Authority; Supreme Court Ultimately Reverses $2.7 Million Award
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger, 137 S. Ct. 1178 (Apr. 18, 2017)

Dialing the Wrong Number Has Its Consequences: Court Grants Motion to Compel Against Debt Collector
Meredith v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56783 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 13, 2017)

Hold the Phone: No Sanctions for Destroyed ESI When Content Is Unknown and Other Routes to Discover ESI Are Available
Zamora v. Stellar Mgmt. Grp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55361 (W.D. Mo. Apr. 11, 2017)

50 States: Civil Procedure Rules in State Court – Part 1

The 2015 FRCP Amendments have been in effect for over a year and federal courts have been increasingly vocal in the areas of proportionality, spoliation and sanctions. Have states followed suit?

The last time KrolLDiscovery rolled out a comprehensive look at state ediscovery rules was after the 2006 FRCP Amendments. Back then, we saw that some states had been quick to address ediscovery, with many states adding their own unique flavor. Fast forward to the 2015 FRCP Amendments: Are states adopting the new language in their civil procedure rules or are they taking their own approaches?

At KrolLDiscovery, we have been looking at each states’ civil procedure rules, and we are excited to bring you the first of our updates. Here is the latest on what three states have been doing since the 2015 FRCP Amendments were enacted.

Texas, An Ediscovery Pioneer

The Lone Star State was one of the first jurisdictions to enact ediscovery rules and it lives up to its name by writing its own rules. Currently, its focus is on the spoliation of evidence, as the current rules are not clearly defined. In April 2016, the Texas Supreme Court requested review of a proposal that would solve this problem. No decisions have been made yet, but it has joined federal courts in making this a central discovery issue in 2017.

Examine current information on state ediscovery rules in Texas.

Massachusetts Takes One Step Forward with Rule 1

In Massachusetts, lawmakers initially proposed adopting the 2015 FRCP Amendments and the issue was intensely debated. Ultimately, the state decided to stick with the 2006 language, but made an exception for Rule 1, placing equal responsibility on the parties and the courts to “ensure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determine of every action,” promoting cooperation among litigants.

Look at developments in state ediscovery rules in Massachusetts.

New York Does Its Own Thing

New York has adopted its own ediscovery framework by adding subtle ESI accommodations to its existing rule language. For example, it adds an entire section addressing ediscovery from non-parties and requires counsel for parties who anticipate ediscovery to be “sufficiently versed in . . . their clients’ technological systems to discuss [ediscovery issues] competently” at pretrial conferences.

Learn more about state ediscovery rules in New York.

Over the next month, we will work to update each of the 50 states on our Rules and Statutes Map. If you are tracking ediscovery provisions in state courts, stay tuned throughout the next month for further updates!

April 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Seller’s Remorse: Court Imposes Sanctions for Failure to Preserve ESI in Sale of Business
ILWU-PMA Welfare Plan Bd. of Trs. v. Connecticut Gen. Life. Ins. Co., 2017 WL 345988 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2017)

Court Acts Under Its Own Power to Impose Sanctions for Intentional ESI Spoliation
Hsueh v. N.Y. State Dep’t of Fin. Servs., 2017 WL 1194706 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2017)

Hold the Pepperoni: “Menacing Scourge” of Boilerplate Responses Leaves a Rancid Taste in Judge’s Mouth
Liguria Foods, Inc. v. Griffith Labs., Inc., 2017 WL 976626 (N.D. Iowa March 13, 2017)

Angie’s List Receives a Negative Review: Court Compels Production of ESI
Williams v. Angie’s List, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54270 (S.D. Ind. Apr. 10, 2017)

Court Finds That “Form Over Substance” Does Not Satisfy Motion to Compel Production of ESI
Duffy v. Lawrence Mem. Hosp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49583 (D. Kan. Mar. 31, 2017)

March 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Judge Peck Has Had Enough of “Meaningless Boilerplate Responses”
Fischer v. Forrest, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 28, 2017)

“Unusually Deplorable” Conduct Costs Plaintiff $7 Million in Sanctions
Shawe v. Elting, 2017 Del. LEXIS 61 (Del. Feb. 13, 2017)

Ignorance of the Technology is No Excuse; Businesses Have a Duty to Ensure Confidential Information Cannot be Accessed
Harleysville Ins. Co. v. Holding Funeral Home, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18714 (W.D. Va. Feb. 9, 2017)

California Department of Education Gets Schooled in Ediscovery Production Formats
Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Ass’n v. Cal. Dep’t of Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14983 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 1, 2017)

Court Finds That “Form Over Substance” Does Not Satisfy Motion to Compel Production of ESI
Excel Enters. v. Winona PVD Coatings, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22932 (N.D. Ind. Feb. 17, 2017)

February 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Court Narrows the Scope of Social Media Discovery
Scott v. United States Postal Serv., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178702 (M.D. La. Dec. 27, 2016)

Court Imposes Sanctions for Failure to Preserve Phone Call Recordings
Sec. Alarm Fin. Enters., L.P. v. Alarm Protection Tech., LLC, No. 3:13-cv-00102-SLG, 2016 WL 7115911 (D. Alaska Dec. 6, 2016)

Court Delivers a Package of Proportionality and Cooperation in Class Action
Solo v. UPS Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3275 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 10, 2017)

Court Schools Parties on Duty to Preserve and Finds No Act of Spoliation
Archer v. York City Sch. Dist., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178969 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 28, 2016)

“Mere Speculation” of Spoliation is Not Enough to Issue Sanctions Under Rule 37(e)
HCC Ins. Holdings, Inc. v. Flowers, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12120 (N.D. Ga. Jan. 30, 2017)

January 2017 Ediscovery Case Summaries

Failure to Preserve Interactive Website Data Held Insufficient to Impose Sanctions Under Rule 37(e)
FTC v. Directv, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176873 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 21, 2016)

Jury to Decide Issue of Intent for Spoliation
Cahill v. Dart, 2016 U.S. Dist. Lexis 166831 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 2, 2016)

Australian Court Takes Predictive Coding Down Under
McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) Pty Ltd v. Santam Ltd & Ors (No 1),
[2016] VSC 734 (Dec. 2, 2016)

Illinois State Court Leverages Proportionality Standards in FRCP 26(b)(1) to Determine if Forensic Imaging is too Intrusive
Carlson v. Jerousek, 2016 IL App (2d) 151248 (Ill. App. Ct. 2d Dist. 2016)

Kansas Court Rejects Proportionality Arguments and Boilerplate Objections
Duffy v. Lawrence Mem. Hosp., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176848 (D. Kan. Dec. 21, 2016)

2017: The Year of Proportionality

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared in Legaltech News.

Of the many changes that emerged from the 2015 FRCP amendments, none has spurred uncertainty within the legal community as much as Rule 26(b)(1) and its emphasis on proportionality. Judges and counsel alike have wrestled to apply the new rule, leaving 2016 case law rife with complex, fact-based interpretations. Even the Sedona Conference issued a publication addressing this issue in their recent publication, Commentary on Proportionality in Electronic Discovery (with public comments due Jan. 31, 2017). As we head into 2017, one conclusion is certain: Proportionality is here to stay.

What Is Proportionality?

Rule 26(b)(1) provides a list of factors, requiring parties to take into account “the amount in controversy,” “the parties’ resources” and “the importance of the issues at stake in the action,” among other factors. At its core, proportionality is about balance, ensuring that parties receive the information they need to plead their claims and argue their defenses, while curtailing expensive and time-consuming waste. While the concept of proportionality seems simple enough, applying it can be difficult for parties.

One mistake counsel make is to look at the factors involving monetary expenditures and stop their analysis there. However, as the Sedona Conference Publication indicates, this is just the beginning of the analysis. Courts care about the claims at issue, and they still have the same commitment to ensuring that parties will have the relevant information that they need. Relevance still matters, but it no longer stands alone. Courts are now more likely to say “no” to requests that are designed to burden parties and have relatively little value.

Another mistake that counsel make is to tell a judge that a discovery request is not proportional but then offer no suggestion as to how a request can be altered to make it so. If a discovery request is too broad, offer a suggestion as to how it can be narrowed, and be prepared to show the court documentation for costs involved. Where scope of discovery is in dispute, show the court a willingness to cooperate and be in contact with the opposing party when issues arise, rather than filing a motion to compel at the first sign of conflict. In 2017, more Rule 26(b)(1) opinions will have judges admonishing parties for failing to attempt to cooperate with each other. In fact, in the latter part of 2016, judges were increasingly reminding parties that the court is a last resort—not the first—when it comes to managing scope of discovery.

What We Have Learned in 2016

A blanket rule cannot be crafted to determine whether a request is proportional. In many of the Rule 26(b)(1) opinions in 2016, the courts took each specific discovery request and applied proportionality to the facts at hand. While judges might not be able to define proportionality, they recognize it when it is presented to them. When the proportionality analysis is so fact-specific, the job of counsel is to demonstrate to a judge how proportionality can work in the case. In a world buried in data, to be successful in gaining access to the most critical information, counsel must see proportionality as a tool and not a constraint.

In 2017, the expectation will be even higher for counsel to have adopted and be proficient with the new rules. Judges will have less and less patience for those who still apply the old “reasonably-calculated” language of Rule 26(b)(1). While in 2016, some courts themselves were still applying the old standard, in 2017, courts will expect parties to have fully acclimated themselves to the new rule. Courts are getting tired of paring down broad discovery requests and instead are sending the dispute back to the parties with orders to attempt to resolve the issue themselves.

Before the 2015 amendments took effect, the legal community was unsure whether the new emphasis on proportionality meant a material change in ediscovery. The opinions of 2016 have shown that judges have more than wrestled with proportionality; they have embraced it. Gone are the days in which parties can ask for everything and, frankly, strategic litigators know they do not want to be overwhelmed with all that useless data. 2017 will be the year of proportionality, and it is up to counsel to keep pace.

 
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