A few weeks ago, in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group, No. 11 Civ. 1279 (ALC) (AJP) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2012), Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an opinion making it likely the first case to accept the use of computer-assisted review of electronically stored information (“ESI”) for this case. However, on March 13, District Court Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. granted plaintiffs’ request to submit additional briefing on their February 22 objections to the ruling. In that briefing (filed on March 26), the plaintiffs claimed that the protocol approved for predictive coding “risks failing to capture a staggering 65% of the relevant documents in this case” and questioned Judge Peck’s relationship with defense counsel and with the selected vendor for the case, Recommind. Then, on April 5, Judge Peck issued an order in response to Plaintiffs’ letter requesting his recusal, directing plaintiffs to indicate whether they would file a formal motion for recusal or ask the Court to consider the letter as the motion.
This past Friday, April 13, the plaintiffs filed their formal motion, which included a Notice of Motion for Recusal or Disqualification, Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Recusal or Disqualification and Declaration of Steven L. Wittels in Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Recusal or Disqualification.
In the 28 page Memorandum of Law, the plaintiffs made several arguments that they contended justified Judge Peck’s recusal in this case. They included:
Regardless whether Judge Peck is partial or not, the plaintiffs argued in the Memorandum that “§ 455(a) requires a judge‟s recusal for the mere appearance of impropriety or partiality – i.e. if a reasonable outsider might entertain a plausible suspicion or doubt as to the judge‟s impartiality”.
In his order on April 5, Judge Peck noted that the “defendants will have 14 days to respond”, so it will be interesting to see if they do and what that response entails. They will certainly have some bold statements to address from the plaintiffs if they do respond.
So, what do you think? Do the plaintiffs make a valid argument for recusal? Or is this just a case of “sour grapes” on their part for disagreeing, not with predictive coding in general, but the specific approach to predictive coding addressed in Judge Peck’s order of February 24? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.
Browse eDiscovery Daily Blog