Appeals Court Upholds “Death Penalty Order” Sanction That Leads to Multi-Million Dollar Judgment: eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Crews v. Avco Corp., a Washington Court of Appeals upheld a “death penalty order” against the defendant for discovery violations, including the failure to produce relevant information, but remanded for amendment of the final judgment of over $17.28 million to reflect any offsets for settlements with other defendants.

Denial of Motion for Spoliation Sanctions Leaves Plaintiff Less Than Glad: eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Gladue v. Saint Francis Medical Center, Missouri District Judge Carol E. Jackson denied the plaintiff's motion for evidentiary and monetary sanctions due to spoliation of evidence, finding that the defendant did not have a duty to preserve emails deleted as part of routine IT operations, had diligently attempted to recover deleted emails and that the plaintiff failed to show that any of the unrecovered emails were relevant to her claims.

Discarding a Relevant Computer Results in Adverse Inference Sanctions, Not Default Judgment: eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Grady v. Brodersen, Colorado Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang granted the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions against the defendant in part for failing to produce a computer that the defendant ultimately acknowledged that he discarded, but denied the plaintiff’s request for a default judgment sanction, opting for the less severe adverse inference instruction sanction.

Defendant Does Not Take the Fall for Spoliation in Slip and Fall Case: eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Harrell v. Pathmark et al., Pennsylvania District Judge Gene E. K. Pratter, after a hearing to consider whether to draw an adverse inverse instruction due to the defendant’s possible spoliation of video evidence, determined that “a spoliation inference would not be appropriate here”. Finding that the plaintiff had presented no evidence that the defendant had constructive notice of a dangerous condition resulting in her slip and fall, Judge Pratter also granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Court Rules that Australian Company’s Duty to Preserve Only Begins when US Court Has Jurisdiction: eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Lunkenheimer Co. v. Tyco Flow Control Pacific Party Ltd., Ohio District Judge Timothy S. Black ruled that the duty to preserve for the defendant (an Australian company with offices and facilities only in Australia) did not begin until the complaint was filed in US courts in December 2011, denying the assertion of the intervenor/counter defendant that the duty to preserve arose in 2002.

Alon Israely, Esq., CISSP of BIA: eDiscovery Trends

By : Doug Austin

Today’s thought leader is Alon Israely. Alon is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Business Intelligence Associates, Inc. (BIA) and currently leads the Strategic Partner Program at BIA. Alon has over eighteen years of experience in a variety of advanced computing-related technologies and has consulted with law firms and corporations on a variety of technology issues, including expert witness services related to computer forensics, digital evidence management and data security. Alon is an attorney and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Brad Jenkins of CloudNine: eDiscovery Trends

By : Doug Austin

Today’s thought leader is Brad Jenkins of CloudNine™. Brad has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, as well as 15 years leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored several articles on document management and litigation support issues, and has appeared as a speaker before national audiences on document management practices and solutions. He’s also my boss!

The First 7 to 10 Days May Make or Break Your Case: eDiscovery Best Practices

By : Doug Austin

When a case is filed, several activities must be completed within a short period of time (often as soon as the first seven to ten days after filing) to enable you to assess the scope of the case, where the key electronically stored information (ESI) is located and whether to proceed with the case or attempt to settle with opposing counsel. Here are several of the key early activities that can assist in deciding whether to litigate or settle the case.

Expanded Sources of ESI May Leave You “Fit” to be Tied – eDiscovery Trends

By : Doug Austin

One of the items that I bought my wife for Christmas (which she really wanted) was an UP 24™ Fitness Tracker, which is a wristband that tracks a variety of fitness metrics, including steps taken, workouts logged and calories burned (not to mention sleep cycles) and enables you to share and compare your stats with your friends via an app on your mobile device. Another example of a similar device is a Fitbit®. Based on a recent case, these devices are just another example of new devices from which relevant ESI may be collected for discovery.

2014 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review, Part 4

By : Doug Austin

As we noted yesterday, Wednesday and Tuesday, eDiscoveryDaily published 93 posts related to eDiscovery case decisions and activities over the past year, covering 68 unique cases! Yesterday, we looked back at cases related to privilege and inadvertent disclosures, requests for social media, cases involving technology assisted review and the case of the year – the ubiquitous Apple v. Samsung dispute. Today, let’s take a look back at cases related to sanctions and spoliation.

2014 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review, Part 1

By : Doug Austin

It’s time for our annual review of eDiscovery case law! We had more than our share of sanctions granted and denied, as well as disputes over admissibility of electronically stored information (ESI), eDiscovery cost reimbursement, and production formats, even disputes regarding eDiscovery fees. So, as we did last year and the year before that and also the year before that, let’s take a look back at 2014!

Image Isn’t Everything, Court Says, Denying Plaintiff’s Request for Imaging on Defendant’s Hard Drives – eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Design Basics, LLC. v. Carhart Lumber Co., Nebraska Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart, after an extensive hearing on the plaintiff's motion to compel “full disk imaging of Defendant's hard drives, including Defendant's POS server, secretaries' computers, UBS devices. . .”, denied the motion after invoking the mandatory balancing test provided in FRCP Rule 26(b)(2)(C).

Finding Defendant’s Destruction of Documents to be “Planned, Repeated and Comprehensive”, Court Awards Judgment to Plaintiff – eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Regulatory Fundamentals Group v. Governance Risk Management Compliance, New York District Judge Katherine B. Forrest granted the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions and ordered that judgment be entered for the defendant’s “planned, repeated, and comprehensive” destruction of highly-relevant documents.

Twitter Might “Bug” You if You Want to Retrieve Archive Data – eDiscovery Best Practices

By : Doug Austin

Thanks to the Google Alerts that I set up to send me new stories related to eDiscovery, I found an interesting blog post from an attorney that appears to shed light on an archival bug within Twitter that could affect people who may want to retrieve Twitter archival data for eDiscovery purposes.

The Watergate 18 Minute Gap in Audio Recordings Has Nothing on This Case – eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Novick v. AXA Network, LLC, New York Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox granted the plaintiff’s request for sanctions against the defendant, awarding an adverse inference jury instruction for several weeks of spoliated audio recordings and also awarding “reasonable attorney's fees and costs” associated with the motion as well as retaking several depositions.

Simply Deleting a File Doesn’t Mean It’s Gone – eDiscovery Best Practices

By : Doug Austin

When a file is “deleted” (i.e., actually deleted, not just moved to the Recycle Bin), the data for that file isn’t actually removed from the disk (in most cases). So, where does it go? Let's find out.

Dealing with the Departed – eDiscovery Best Practices

By : Doug Austin

When litigation hits, key activities to get a jump on the case include creating a list of key employees most likely to have documents relevant to the litigation and interviewing those key employees, as well as key department representatives, such as IT for information about retention and destruction policies. These steps are especially important as they may shed light on custodians you might not think about – the departed.

Plaintiff Slips, But Defendant Takes the Fall – eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Riley v. Marriott Int’l, New York Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson agreed with the plaintiffs that spoliation of data had occurred when the defendant failed to preserve video surveillance and “sweep logs” after one of the plaintiffs slipped and fell in the defendant’s hotel garage and that the defendant was at least grossly negligent for not preserving the information. However, the judge denied the plaintiffs request for summary judgment, granting an adverse inference instruction instead.

Failure to Preserve Data on Various Devices Causes Special Master to Recommend Default Judgment – eDiscovery Case Law

By : Doug Austin

In Small v. University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Special Master Daniel B. Garrie, calling the defendant’s widespread failure to preserve data a “mockery of the orderly administration of justice”, recommended that the court enter an order of default judgment, along with further sanctions, in favor of the plaintiffs.

How Mature is Your Organization in Handling eDiscovery? – eDiscovery Best Practices

By : Doug Austin

A new self-assessment resource from EDRM helps you answer that question. A few days ago, EDRM announced the release of the EDRM eDiscovery Maturity Self-Assessment Test (eMSAT-1), the “first self-assessment resource to help organizations measure their eDiscovery maturity”. Find out more about it here.

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About the Bloggers

Brad Jenkins

Brad Jenkins, President and CEO of CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years of experience leading customer focused companies in the litigation support arena. Brad has authored many articles on litigation support issues, and has spoken before national audiences on document management practices and solutions.

Doug Austin

Doug Austin, Professional Services Manager for CloudNine Discovery, has over 20 years experience providing legal technology consulting and technical project management services to numerous commercial and government clients. Doug has also authored several articles on eDiscovery best practices.

Jane Gennarelli

Jane Gennarelli is a principal of Magellan’s Law Corporation and has been assisting litigators in effectively handling discovery materials for over 30 years. She authored the company’s Best Practices in a Box™ content product and assists firms in applying technology to document handling tasks. She is a known expert and often does webinars and presentations for litigation support professionals around the country. Jane can be reached by email at jane@litigationbestpractices.com.