Why E-Discovery Protocol?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Too many Electronically Saved Information cases are left pending, without ever discovering the light of a solution in sight. The E-Discovery protocol is expected to facilitate the just, speedy, and inexpensive conduct of discovery involving Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in civil cases, and to promote, whenever possible, the resolution of disputes regarding the discovery of ESI without the intervention.

Lawyers engaged in civil litigation on smaller matters are not sure regarding the extent to which ESI must be preserved. They are worried about the costs associated with identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, and producing this information. This uncertainty, and a lack of understanding of the technical issues involved, forces many lawyers to choose one of the two extremes: over preservation to prevent sanctions or delegate preservation responsibilities to vendors or the clients themselves.

Without the benefit of large E-Discovery budgets, attorneys handling smaller matters may find themselves trapped. Engaging an outside expert to assess the client’s technology infrastructure and implement an appropriate E-Discovery protocol is prohibitively expensive. Clients may not be comfortable with the internal information being assessed by outside experts when their own technology personnel can handle the chunk of information. They may question the need to hire outside experts. These are, of course, reasonable arguments

Usually the time consuming collection of ESI may even go waste. Then there is the attorney review time which again takes a long time to process including the chunks of useless data that must have been collected. An E-Discovery protocol is intended to provide the parties with a comprehensive framework to address and resolve a wide range of ESI issues but it is not intended to be an inflexible checklist.

The Court expects parties to consider the nature of the claim, the amount in controversy, agreements of the parties, the relative ability of the parties to conduct discovery of ESI, and such other factors as may be relevant under the circumstances. Therefore not all aspects of this Protocol may be applicable or practical for a particular matter, and indeed, if the parties do not intend to seek discovery of ESI it may be entirely inapplicable to a particular case. The Court encourages the parties to use this Protocol in cases in which there will be discovery of ESI, and to resolve ESI issues informally and without supervision whenever possible.

Scope of E-Discovery Protocol

Friday, April 15th, 2011

E-Discovery has raised many important issues for litigators and their clients, including evidence integrity, preservation of meta data and its forensic value, recovery of electronic documents from backup tapes, the sheer volume of electronically stored information (ESI) and its impact on the scope of discovery and burden on the parties, and the suitable exchange of electronic
documents.

In December 2006, the US through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, introduced wide ranging measures to tackle these issues. Ever since the US courts have adopted these measures. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure altered the federal litigation expanse by imposing certain strict rules on litigants. The litigants now have to discuss early in the case a range of matters relating to the discovery of their ESI. It also provides for an early discussion of the assertion of privilege claims. The scope of E-Discovery protocol has now changed from how it was earlier dealt with and not dealt with.

Before the new federal rules came into existence, litigants had to deal with issues related to ESI without a specified framework of rules specifying their disclosure and production obligations. Often, due to a lack of refinement of E-Discovery, the requesting parties’ counsel makes responding parties either to ignore their E-Discovery obligations or to run out the clock without providing any significant E-Discovery responses, information or ESI. The prohibitive cost involved in E-Discovery makes parties concerned failing to press the E-Discovery button.

The Federal Rules’ empowerment of federal courts to take charge of E-Discovery protocol matters, puts an end to the old status quo in ESI production. More federal courts (and state courts who rely on federal case law as instructive) are cautioning litigants to negotiate and reach early agreement on what ESI will be produced, when, and how.

The federal litigants who do not detail in advance about the what and how E-Discovery is going to be done and who will pay for it, face the prospect of having an unsympathetic court make those choices for them. This eventually leads to expensive consequences that could have been avoided. With many state courts now citing federal precedent, and with many states now adopting E-Discovery protocol rules similar to the new Federal Rules, this promises to be a real possibility in state court as well.

Electronic Data Discovery – Technology Along With Policy Review

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Electronic discovery plays a vital role in the contest of litigation, audits, investigation and other formal proceedings. In fact, according to the courts, computers have become so commonplace that most court battles now involve discovery of some type of computer-stored information. Litigators often take advantage of this lack of preparation by making digital information. In some cases, litigants have been forced to search, copy and produce millions of E-mail messages at their own cost. In other cases, litigants have been required to create special computer programs to find and extract discoverable data and files believed to have been deleted. It is clear that organizations need to act now to prepare for the electronic data discovery challenge. The amount of time, money and resources expended on electronic data discovery can be amazing for those organizations that are unprepared, where the Data Triage Technologies is found to be the leading expert in the field of electronic data discovery process.

Certain forms of discoverable digital information may be more palpable to organizations, both in terms of the need to retain and manage them, and their inclusion in discovery requests. However, even the most obvious piece of evidence, such as a word processing document in electronic form, may present unique challenges. Such documents may in fact contain Meta data that reveals important information.

The scope of discoverable digital information does not end with electronic documents and other certain packages of bits. In fact, there is an entire realm of potentially discoverable evidence that many organizations may not even be aware of. Newer communications technologies and techniques may in fact offer unmanaged information to a litigant. E-mail, instant messages, wireless PDA data, and chat room or discussion database conversations are often not captured and properly managed by organizations, because they fail to apply information management and retention policies across the board. Also, such technologies may not easily lend themselves to management, as they are typically used in a casual, distributed and personalized manner. There have been many cases where E-mail or instant messages were admitted as evidence, and regulators require such information to be managed like any other record.

Increased belief on information technology and the increased targeting of electronic evidence by litigators, regulators, and investigators means that most organizations are likely to face the challenge of electronic data discovery. Therefore, an organization’s best interests can only be served by preparing for those challenges today. There are few alternatives to the development and enforcement of information management policies and practices that include an electronic data discovery plan. Further, aside from electronic data discovery, proper management of electronic information has clear benefits such as improved customer service and more efficient operations. In any case, such policies and practices should consider the following issues:

1. The organization should clearly define who is ultimately responsible for policy development, enforcement, training, notification and other duties for ensuring that electronic data discovery duties are observed.

2. In the event of a discovery request or anticipated litigation, everyone in your organization who may have control of potentially relevant information should be notified of the requirement to retain information to prevent chance of spoliation.

3. Every employee in your organizations should be aware of the duty to manage records and other information in accordance with written policies generally, and should also understand their duty in the face of audits, investigation and litigation. Employees should also be educated about adequate use and their conduct should be evaluated against these policies.

4. Organizations should ensure that they are spending their resources managing the information that has the most value. In addition, the ongoing elimination of duplicate E-mail, drafts, and so on, in accordance with a written policy can reduce the burden of electronic data discovery.

5. A key reason that electronic data discovery turns out to be burdensome for an organization is the lack of appropriate management technology and searching tools. For example, the ability to search E-mail messages by name, dates, subject lines, routing information, keywords, and other criteria can turn a long and expensive discovery process into a routine operation. Greater flexibility in indexing and retrieval tools can lead to significantly lower soft and hard costs for electronic data discovery.

6. Manage the electronic form because the courts may require information that was generated in electronic form, even if paper copies are available. Courts may look negatively upon litigants who attempt to thwart the discovery process by failing to provide evidence in its native format.

7. Remove records from active systems. Wide discovery instructions can result in an organization’s workstations, servers and networks being periodically unavailable for business operations while they are searched for relevant information. Regularly moving electronic records and other information off of active systems in and into records management, document management and archival systems can help organizations avoid this eventuality.

8. From implementing technology with information management in mind from the outset, to assisting in retrieval and production, to educating executives and attorneys and providing testimony, the IT department plays many roles in the electronic data discovery process.

Electronic data discovery has become a challenge that every organization is likely to face at some point. Further, electronic evidence has become a favorite target of litigators, regulators and investigators. Organizations need to be proactive in addressing this reality. Existing policies, practices, and technology approaches should be viewed that takes into account the millions of dollars, thousands of employee hours and other burdens that organizations have faced in the past for failing to get it right. Even organizations that are facing litigation today can benefit from improvements in technology and policies to streamline the discovery process.

 

Qualcomm Repute Had Been Violated By Legal Losses

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Qualcomm was drowned by the issue of e-discovery misbehavior which had an impact on client, though it is a base line to E-discovery. The U.S district court of California issued a warning to the entire corporate litigant’s regarding the electronically stored documents and E-mails in the recent issues of Qualcomm faulty.

In attorney’s misconduct of Qualcomm, the court envisioned in four scenario’s. First is Qualcomm intentionally hid the documents from its retained lawyers, Second is the retained lawyers failed to discover the intentionally hidden documents, third is Qualcomm shared the damaging documents with its retained lawyers to hide the documents and all evidence of Qualcomm early involvement in JTV(Joint video team) or Qualcomm did not tell the retained lawyers about the damaging documents and evidence or the lawyers suspected whether there are other additional evidence regarding the adequacy of the document search and witness investigation.

In monetary sanctions against Qualcomm the court judge avowed to pay all of Broadcom litigation cost around $ 8.5 million along with decisive documents but the Qualcomm refused to produce the documents in this patent violation case and supposed that they did not participate in the standards making. The court directed Qualcomm to have a case review and enforcement of discovery obligations in order to identity the lapse occurred and to prevent e-discovery violation in future with the intention of secreting this key fact, so that they would have the chance of winning and named it as “Intentional discovery infringement.”

This Case review and enforcement of discovery obligation includes in identifying the factors that contributed to the discovery violation, Creating and evaluating the Proposals, procedures that will correct the deficiency, developing and finalizing a comprehensive protocol, evaluating data track systems, software’s and records to identity the potential sources of discoverable documents and any other information that will help prevent discovery violation.

In Qualcomm vs Broadcom, the court sanctioned the Qualcomm and its attorneys for failure to produce key electronic documents which made them remarkably bad and assured the sanctions imposed. The issue between the Qualcomm and Broadcom over the patents gives the clear picture to the corporate parties and the lawyers regarding the obligation to produce and locate the relevant electronic documents.

In the pitfalls of e-discovery, the judge from southern district of California sanctioned Qualcomm and several of its attorneys for failing to produce thousands of responsive documents during its patent suit against Broadcom. Qualcomm lost a decree in a separate patent clash with Broadcom, temporarily averted a ban on imports though it is second largest maker, downgrading its royalist model in this legal battle ignoring their electronic discovery responsibilities.

Electronic Discovery Violations and Litigation Misconduct

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

In its recent judgment, the court held Qualcomm guilty of withholding a large number of electronically stored documents. Qualcomm never searched the e-mails of certain key witnesses for responsive documents. It held back tens of thousands of e-mails that were decisive in the case, observed the court. The judge affirmed a sanction on Qualcomm’s counsels of over US $ 8.5 million. The judgment also held them guilty of gross litigation misconduct. The judge termed it a reckless disregard of their electronic discovery obligations. The State Bar of California is to take up further inquiry and possible disciplinary action against the attorneys.