The eDiscovery landscape continues to present law firms and clients with complex challenges, requiring all participants to stay abreast of rapidly evolving requirements. In the inaugural issue of eDiscovery Advantage, we noted that Judge Shira Scheindlin had issued a decision finding that production of nonsearchable PDFs that had been stripped of all metadata was inappropriate and noting which metadata fields Judge Scheindlin believed should accompany all significant productions of electronically stored information (“ESI”). Nat’l Day Laborer Org. Network v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, 2011 WL 381625 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 2011). Judge Scheindlin recently withdrew this opinion, see 10 Civ. 3488 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y. June 17, 2011). We believe, however, that the withdrawn opinion should continue to serve as guidance for how parties should structure and produce ESI. We hope the case summaries in this issue of eDiscovery Advantage continue to aid your understanding in this ever-developing and significant area of the law.
Summary of Spring 2011 Decisions
Following the trend from early 2011, courts continue to address issues of preservation, spoliation and sanctions; focusing on the time at which the preservation obligation attaches, whether relevant documents were destroyed, and the level of culpability of the party alleged to have spoliated evidence. In a surprising and significant development, a federal district court allowed defendants, who were the prevailing parties, to recover over $370,000 in eDiscovery-related costs. While not binding precedent, this decision can be cited in other jurisdictions to support the recovery of eDiscovery costs. Other notable cases addressed the need for the parties to implement an ESI protocol and excluded the use of certain social media evidence in a criminal trial because it had not been properly authenticated.
Preservation and Spoliation
A number of recent cases addressed the various standards and challenges associated with the preservation of documents and the sanctions applied to those who fail to meet their preservation and production obligations.
In In re Delta/Airtran Baggage Fee Antitrust Litig., 2011 WL 915322 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 22, 2011), the plaintiffs sought spoliation sanctions alleging that the defendant failed to suspend the automatic deletion of its email and backup tapes. The court noted that a party seeking spoliation sanctions must prove that (1) the missing evidence existed at one time; (2) the opposing party had a duty to preserve the evidence; and (3) the evidence was crucial to the requesting party’s ability to prove their prima facie case. The party seeking sanctions must then demonstrate that “the absence of [the] evidence is predicated on bad faith, such as where a party purposely loses or destroys relevant evidence.”
The court then provided a list of factors identified by the Eleventh Circuit that courts should consider when determining whether spoliation sanctions are justified: “(1) prejudice to the non-spoiling party as a result of the destruction of evidence, (2) whether the prejudice can be cured, (3) practical importance of the evidence, (4) whether the spoiling party acted in good or bad faith, and (5) the potential for abuse of expert testimony about evidence not excluded.” In this case, the plaintiffs did not allege destruction or alteration of evidence, but rather spoliation based on the defendant’s failure to immediately comply with a Civil Investigative Demand served upon it by a third party. The court found this insufficient to put the defendant on notice of a “reasonably foreseeable” lawsuit by the plaintiffs. Accordingly, the court found that the defendant owed the plaintiffs no duty to preserve, and thus denied plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions.
Moreover, the Delta court determined that even if a duty to preserve had existed, the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate any evidence of prejudice. In so doing, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ speculative assertions that “important documents . . . existed but were destroyed,” finding such allegations insufficient to support a finding of prejudice in the absence of actual proof. The court instead recognized that the plaintiffs “offer[ed] nothing more than speculation that the allegedly missing documents were relevant and crucial to their claims.” In addition, the plaintiffs had failed to carry their burden of showing that the defendants acted in bad faith. While a showing of malice is not required, the court found that the defendant’s actions amounted to no more than mere negligence—falling short of the bad faith conduct required to support spoliation sanctions.
A different outcome was reached in Rosenthal Collins Grp., LLC v. Trading Tech. Int’l Inc., 2011 WL 722467 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 23, 2011), where the defendant moved for default judgment and monetary sanctions based on the plaintiff’s discovery misconduct in a patent litigation suit. During the course of discovery, the plaintiff’s consultant revealed that he had modified part of the software code in question, in direct contradiction to the declaration used in the plaintiff’s summary judgment motion. The court imposed initial monetary sanctions and granted the defendant’s request for further discovery. The plaintiff failed to comply with this discovery order for another year. After the additional discovery was finally completed, the court agreed that forensic evidence demonstrated that the plaintiff and its consultant had backdated critical dates on certain patents, wiped seven zip disks and three USB thumb drives prior to producing them for inspection and imaging, and reformatted a computer and reinstalled its operating system.
Judge Coleman noted that “[a] party’s failure to preserve evidence alone constitutes bad faith, the additional destruction of evidence is beyond sufficient to warrant a default judgment against that party.” The plaintiff claimed that it had no actual knowledge of the evidence destruction and modification entered into by its consultant. The court, however, was not swayed by this argument, finding that a default judgment was warranted nonetheless, as the destruction and modification “might have been avoided if [the plaintiff] had promptly complied with [the] Court’s orders to produce the material.” The court pointed out that the plaintiff had not taken physical possession of, obtained forensic images of, or done anything else to preserve the evidence. Further, as an agent for the plaintiff, the actions of the consultant in this case could be “properly imputed to [the plaintiff].” In the end, Judge Coleman found clear and convincing evidence that the plaintiff and its counsel had acted in bad faith and with willful disregard for the rules of discovery and the court’s orders. The court fined the plaintiff $1,000,000 for its “egregious conduct before the Court,” and required plaintiff’s counsel to pay the costs and attorneys fees incurred in litigating the motion “[f]or [counsel’s] part in presenting misleading, false information, materially altered evidence, and willful non-compliance with the court’s orders.” Declaring that these monetary sanctions alone would be insufficient, the court also entered a default judgment in the defendant’s favor.
In yet another opinion to depart from Judge Scheindlin’s finding in Pension Comm. of the Univ. of Montreal Pension Plan v. Banc of Am. Secs., LLC, 685 F. Supp. 2d 456 (S.D.N.Y. 2010) that the failure to issue a written legal hold constitutes gross negligence, Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio, in Steuben Foods, Inc. v. Country Gourmet Foods, LLC, 2011 WL 1549450 (W.D.N.Y. April 21, 2011), declined to find that “implementation of a written litigation hold notice is required to avoid an inference that relevant evidence has been presumptively destroyed by the party failing to implement such written litigation hold.” Judge Foschio also noted that he would not find that “the failure to issue a written litigation hold justifies even a rebuttable presumption that spoliation has taken place.”
In Steuben Foods, the plaintiff’s corporate counsel orally communicated the litigation hold to plaintiff’s senior management. Counsel told these individuals to “identify all ESI including paper documents and email communications pertaining to [the defendants] and not to discard or delete or otherwise destroy such documents pending” the litigation which plaintiff had filed. The court, citing Magistrate Judge James C. Francis’ decision in Orbit One Commcn’s, Inc. v. Numerex Corp., 271 F.R.D. 429 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), specifically noted that the “relatively small size of Plaintiff … (400 employees), lends itself to a direct oral communication of the need to preserve documents relevant to Plaintiff’s case.”
Judge Foschio noted that a party bringing a spoliation claim has the burden of demonstrating: (1) the obligation to preserve evidence; (2) that the records were destroyed with a culpable state of mind; and (3) the evidence destroyed was relevant to the moving party’s claim or defense. As such, it is a sine qua non that evidence be destroyed.
Applying this standard, the court found that the plaintiff had produced a substantial number of documents and there was no reason to presume that important documents had been lost. Although defendants pointed to the plaintiff’s failure to produce three emails, the court found that this was a “wholly inadequate basis on which to find or presume such loss or destruction” by the plaintiff, especially as one of the three emails was ultimately produced, and the other two were not relevant to the defendants’ defenses. Moreover, as the defendants had copies of the emails from other sources (i.e., they were produced by one of the defendants), prejudice could not be established.
In Velocity Press, Inc. v. Key Bank, N.A., 2011 WL 1584720 (D. Utah April 26, 2011), Judge Ted Stewart denied plaintiff’s motion for sanctions based on Key Bank’s failure to produce two email communications that the plaintiff obtained from a co-defendant. The court focused on the fact that Key Bank had a “neutral” document retention policy and that its obligation to preserve documents did not attach until after the email messages would have been deleted from its systems by operation of the document retention system.
All email messages sent to Key Bank’s employees were captured and archived on a central server before they were delivered to the recipient. These emails, including attachments, were maintained on the central server for one year from the date of receipt. Once the year passed, the emails were automatically marked for deletion and then deleted in the weekly sweep of the retention system. The system could be suspended for individuals subject to litigation holds. Once a litigation hold was in place, the relevant emails were copied from the central server to another location and maintained.
Although the plaintiff claimed that certain emails from June and July 2007 were not produced, thereby evidencing spoliation, Judge Stewart noted that Key Bank was not “aware of imminent litigation until it was served with [the plaintiff’s] summons and complaint … [and that its] duty to preserve documents did not arise until late June of 2009” — well after the emails in question would have been removed from its systems in compliance with its document retention policy. Judge Stewart gave no credence to the plaintiff’s claims that Key Bank should have been on notice of potential litigation claims in July and August 2008, finding that the circumstances “fail[ed] to convey … that future litigation was imminent.”
With respect to the plaintiff’s claims that Key Bank did not conduct a reasonable investigation, Judge Stewart noted that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require litigants “to examine every scrap of paper in its potentially voluminous files in order to comply with its discovery obligations.” A party must simply conduct a “diligent search” based on a “reasonably comprehensive search strategy.” Based on the facts of the case, Judge Stewart found that Key Bank had met this burden, especially since it had provided the “raw electronic data” to the plaintiff.
In a lengthy analysis regarding when a party should have reasonably foreseen litigation in the context of spoliation allegations, the Federal Circuit in Micron Tech. Inc. v. Rambus, Inc., 2011 WL 1815975 (Fed. Cir. May 13, 2011) (“Micron II”), conducted a thorough review of the prelitigation timeline and plaintiff’s targeted implementation of its newly-crafted document retention and destruction policies. The Federal Circuit noted that plaintiff’s employees were instructed to delete relevant and discoverable material up until the commencement of litigation, while simultaneously being instructed to locate and save documents that could eventually help prove plaintiff’s claims. Additionally, the court noted that plaintiff instituted a new policy regarding backup tapes which led to the deletion of all but one of plaintiff’s 1,269 backup tapes; the sole exception being the tape that held a document critical to plaintiff’s attempt to establish a priority date. Plaintiff also held a number of “shredding parties” to destroy documents. Moreover, plaintiff’s in-house counsel drafted a December 1998 memorandum outlining plaintiff’s litigation strategy.
The Federal Circuit upheld the lower court’s determination that plaintiff reasonably anticipated litigation by at least December 1998, when it prepared the litigation strategy memo. The Federal Circuit was careful to note that the important inquiry in determining when the duty to preserve attaches “is not whether a particular document made litigation reasonably foreseeable, but whether the totality of the circumstances as of the date of the document destruction made litigation reasonably foreseeable.” Notably, the court also explained that the nature of the business relationship between potential litigants affects the foreseeability analysis: when parties have a mutually beneficial business relationship that turns sour, litigation is less foreseeable than where the business relationship is naturally adversarial or, at least, not mutually beneficial. Using this test, and in light of the plaintiff’s activities, the Federal Circuit found that the lower court had properly determined that plaintiff had engaged in spoliation.
Although it found that the plaintiff had engaged in spoliation, the Federal Circuit could not address the lower court’s decision to dismiss plaintiff’s case as a sanction for such spoliation, as the lower court did not address whether plaintiff’s implementation of the documentation policy was done in bad faith, which the Federal Circuit noted would impact which party had the burden of proving prejudice (or lack thereof). To remedy this, the case was remanded to the lower court for further proceedings to address these issues.
In Hynix Semiconductor Inc. v. Rambus Inc., 2011 WL 1815978 (Fed. Cir. May 13, 2011) (“Hynix II”), a companion case to Micron II decided by the Federal Circuit on the same day, the court chose to remand to the district court for further consideration in light of the Micron II decision. In Hynix II, the lower court had concluded that litigation was reasonably foreseeable to defendant Rambus in late 1999 — roughly one year later than the date identified in Micron II —despite what the Federal Circuit described as “substantially identical” facts. While acknowledging that the test for determining whether litigation is foreseeable is a flexible, fact-specific standard, the Federal Circuit clarified that litigation can be foreseeable even if a number of contingencies exist that could potentially derail the litigation. The court ultimately held that the district court had assigned too much weight to these contingencies, holding that it would be inequitable to allow a party to destroy documents merely because contingent factors exist—especially where, as here, the destroying party fully expected the contingencies to be resolved. Ultimately, the Federal Circuit remanded the case with instructions to reconsider the foreseeability question in light of Micron II.
Search & Retrieval
In Nissan N. Am., Inc. v. Johnson Elec. N. Am., Inc., 2011 WL 1002835 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 17, 2011), Judge Mona Majzoub drew an important distinction between a request for additional ESI searches and a mere request for the production of a data map and record retention policies, in addition to confirmation that certain searches had been performed. In response to informal discovery requests made by the defendant, the plaintiff had moved for a protective order to prevent the defendant from “seeking systemwide searches of Plaintiff’s systems and custodians.” Judge Majzoub pointed out that while the backup systems identified by the plaintiffs were indeed “not readily accessible,” the plaintiff had “failed to show good cause to preclude Defendant from seeking discovery” of the tracking records, retention policies, and data map. The court emphasized that Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(ii) requires counsel to “become knowledgeable about their client’s computer systems and ESI at the onset of litigation,” and found that production of this information would not rise to the level of an “undue burden” on the plaintiff. Judge Majzoub noted that the plaintiff had reasonably complied with all prior discovery requests, but concluded the new informal requests were reasonable under Rule 26 and thus denied the request for a protective order.
In Star Direct Telecom, Inc. v. Global Crossing Bandwidth, Inc., 2011 WL 1125493 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 21, 2011), Judge Marian W. Payson held that the defendant had waived its right to assert a burden objection by failing to assert such objection when defendant responded to plaintiff’s requests. Although plaintiff’s motion to compel the defendant to supplement its discovery responses was not made until after the close of discovery, Judge Payson found that the motion was timely as the defendant had a duty to supplement its responses. With respect to the defendant’s claim that producing the requested emails would unreasonably require searching an external database at a cost of $13,000, the court noted that the defendant had not objected to the production as unduly burdensome or costly, nor had it identified the external archival database as a source of potentially relevant information that it was not searching because of undue burden.
Judge Payson explained that “[i]f the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are to be effective and meaningful, parties should not be permitted to conceal potential sources of responsive information in the hope that the opposing party does not discover their deliberate omission until the discovery deadline has expired.” She also noted that the defendant had simply failed to identify sources of potentially responsive information, and rejected its argument that the plaintiff had “simply elected not to search for archived electronically stored information.” Judge Payson also rejected defendant’s claim that it did not need to produce emails because the plaintiff had not specified the form in which ESI was to be produced, noting that Rule 34 permits a requesting party to so specify, but does not require the party to do so. Since plaintiff’s request defined “documents” to include emails, the defendant was required to produce them. Accordingly, the court held that the defendant was required to search the archives and supplement its production at its own cost.
In Benson, M.D. v. Sanford Health, 2011 WL 1135379 (D.S.D. Mar. 25, 2011), Magistrate Judge John E. Simko considered the propriety of a search for ESI, and whether the requesting party was unreasonable in its pursuit of a missing, relevant email. The plaintiff had filed her lawsuit in 2008 and sought an email from 2006 that she believed to be relevant to her case. After the defendants failed to produce the email, the plaintiff conducted four depositions of three individuals to ascertain details about the defendants’ document retention policies, electronic storage, and search for the 2006 email. The plaintiff then filed a motion to compel production of this one specific email, which no one had been able to locate.
The defendants claimed that their document retention policies, which automatically purged emails from the system after 90 days, would have destroyed the email prior to the filing of the lawsuit, if it ever existed. While the defendants did use a backup tape system, the tapes were overwritten every two months, making them of little use in this case. There was no evidence that the email in question had ever been printed and no hardcopy was found. In addition, a laptop which might have contained the requested email had been stolen and was never recovered.
Judge Simko disagreed with the plaintiff’s claim that the defendants had not “done enough” to search for the email, noting that the plaintiff had “not suggested what else [the defendants] could reasonably do that has not already been done.” Accordingly, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion and request for sanctions, and instead ordered the plaintiff to file a brief explaining why sanctions should not be imposed against her. Similarly, Judge Simko asked the defendants to file an affidavit stating their reasonable expenses, including attorneys’ fees, in opposing the plaintiff’s motion to compel.
Recovery of Costs
In a decision having significant impact on a prevailing party’s ability to recover eDiscovery-related costs, in Race Tires Am. Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 2011 WL 1748620 (W.D.Pa. May 6, 2011), the Western District of Pennsylvania awarded over $370,000 to defendants who obtained summary judgment dismissing the claims against them. Judge Terrence McVerry found that “the requirements and expertise necessary to retrieve and prepare … e-discovery documents for production were an indispensible part of the discovery process.” As such, the court allowed the taxation of the defendants’ costs ($125,580.55 and $241,778.81, respectively) under the authority granted by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The court found that section 1920’s allowance for costs associated with “exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case” should be extended to include eDiscovery costs.
The parties had considered the discovery of electronically stored information in depth and had “agreed upon and submitted an extensive proposed e-discovery Case Management Order.” The Case Management Order required, among other things, that the parties exchange an initial list of search terms, produce single-page .TIFFs with the associated load files and cross-reference files, and extract and include specified metadata fields.
While noting that there are a variety of approaches to the taxing of eDiscovery costs across district and circuit courts, Judge McVerry noted that the Sixth Circuit has “held that electronic scanning and imaging could be interpreted as ‘exemplification and copies of papers,’” which are compensable costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
The court noted that it was undisputed that the defendants had produced massive quantities of ESI in response to written discovery demands (e.g., copying over 490 gigabytes of electronic data and 270,000 files from servers, using 442 search terms, imaging 19 hard drives, and processing data from five custodians). The defendants had also engaged experts to forensically collect and image hard drives, scan documents to create electronic images, process and index ESI, extract metadata, make documents searchable, and convert documents to the required .TIFF format.
The court took pains to note that any award of costs requires a “careful scrutiny” of the invoices submitted detailing those costs to “ensure compliance with the statute.” In addition, although the court noted that there is no statutory rate for calculating costs associated with exemplification and copying, it cited to the Advisory Committee Notes to Rule 54, which suggest that “local rates or customary rates should generally determine the appropriateness of an award.”
In contrast to the more expansive holding in Race Tires Am. Inc., in Mann v. Heckler & Koch Defense Inc., 2011 WL 1599580 (E.D.Va. April 28, 2011), Judge James C. Cacheris limited the defendant’s recovery of eDiscovery costs under Rule 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. 1920 to the $1,561.34 defendant incurred in connection with the actual production of documents to the plaintiff. The defendant had sought $36,676.34 — the costs incurred for compiling electronic files into an electronic database, converting the files to .TIFFs, Bates stamping the documents, and burning the documents to CDs for production.
Judge Cacheris noted that an earlier district court case, Fells v. Virginia Dep’t of Transp., 605 F. Supp. 2d 740 (E.D.Va. 2009) distinguished the creation of electronically searchable documents (e.g., initial processing of electronic records, metadata extraction, and file conversion) from scanning or converting paper documents into electronic documents. Under this rationale, the Fells court held that costs associated with scanning paper documents were recoverable but not costs associated with creating databases. Accordingly, Judge Cacheris held that the defendant’s costs associated with burning a CD to turn over in discovery were compensable. In denying the defendant’s request for $35,115.00 associated with the creation of a litigation database, conversion to .TIFFs and Bates stamping, Judge Cacheris found that “Searching and Deduping,” the “Creation of Narrative File Database with Full Text” and “Metadata Extraction,” qualified as “copying” rather than “creating,” thus making these costs not compensable.
In a contentious case with a number of discovery disputes, In re Facebook PPC Adver. Litig., 2001 WL 1324516 (N.D.Cal. April 6, 2011), Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd required the parties to “meet and confer” to “agree to an ESI Protocol that addresses the formats in which the various forms of ESI will be produced” and to review the search terms utilized by defendant Facebook. In addition, Facebook was ordered to reproduce documents that it had uploaded to a review website, Watchdox.com, as well as to reproduce documents that were originally produced in an unsearchable format.
Judge Lloyd’s ruling came after the plaintiffs had objected to Facebook’s failure to agree to an ESI Protocol and its use of Watchdox.com. Facebook argued that an ESI Protocol was not necessary as “forcing the parties to try to anticipate and address all potential issues on the form of electronic production would likely have the result of frustrating and slowing down the discovery process.” The court noted that the fact that an ESI Protocol cannot address every single issue was not an argument for having no ESI Protocol at all — especially as the “clear thrust of discovery-related rules, case law, and commentary suggests that communication among counsel is crucial to a successful electronic discovery process.” Judge Lloyd also referred to Rule 26(f)’s requirement that the parties meet and confer to develop a discovery plan as further support for requiring the parties to enter into the ESI Protocol.
Regarding the use of Watchdox.com, the court noted that Facebook had used Watchdox.com to restrict the plaintiffs’ ability to review documents in certain ways, including: requiring them to review documents on an Internet-enabled computer, preventing plaintiffs from printing or otherwise annotating any of the documents it reviewed, tracking which documents were reviewed and by whom, and rendering the documents non-searchable. Each of these steps was found to “make the discovery process less efficient without providing any real benefit.” Judge Lloyd also noted that the stated reason for using Watchdox. com—that the documents were sensitive and confidential—was belied by the fact that the parties had agreed to a two-tiered protective order that allowed designation of documents as “Attorney’s Eyes Only.” As such, Facebook was ordered to produce to the plaintiffs all documents that it had previously uploaded to Watchdox. com.
In Griffin v. State, 19 A.3d 415 (Md. 2011), the Maryland Court of Appeals overturned a conviction where the prosecution failed to properly authenticate evidence that the defendant’s girlfriend had allegedly threatened a key witness in messages posted to a MySpace profile. At trial, the prosecution sought to introduce printed pages from a MySpace profile that the prosecution contended was associated with the defendant’s girlfriend through the testimony of the police investigator who found the pages on MySpace and printed them out. The prosecution, which called the defendant’s girlfriend as a witness, did not question her about the statements made on the MySpace profile. Rather, it chose to rely on the facts that the birth date listed on the MySpace profile was the same as that of the defendant’s girlfriend and that the picture posted to the profile resembled the defendant’s girlfriend.
The court noted that “[a]nyone can create a MySpace profile at no cost, as long as that person has an e-mail address and claims to be over the age of fourteen[.]” Importantly, the court found that “the identity of who generated the profile may be confounding, because a person observing the online profile of a user with whom the observer is unacquainted has no idea whether the profile is legitimate … [and] [t]he concern arises because anyone can create a fictitious account and masquerade under another person’s name or can gain access to another’s account by obtaining the user’s username and password.”
After noting that the “potential for fabricating or tampering with electronically stored information on a social networking site … poses significant challenges from the standpoint of authentication of printouts of the site,” the court cited to Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm’s 2007 opinion in Lorraine v. Markel Am. Ins. Co., 241 F.R.D. 534 (D. Md. 2007), which noted that “[t]he requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims.”
The Court of Appeals made it clear that there were several possible avenues to properly authenticate printouts from social media sites like MySpace, including: (1) asking the purported creator if he or she in fact created the profile and the posting in question; (2) searching the computer of the person who allegedly created the profile and/or posting, concentrating on the Internet history and hard drive to “determine whether that computer was used to originate” the profile and/or posting at issue; and (3) obtaining evidence directly from the social networking website regarding the link between the profile and the person who established it and the author of the posting(s) at issue.
Seventh Circuit eDiscovery Pilot Program: Interim Report Summary
The Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program was launched in October 2009 by 13 judges from the Northern District of Illinois who agreed to utilize the “Principles Relating to the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information” in order to improve pretrial litigation procedures and reduce the cost and burden of electronic discovery. The Pilot Program has greatly expanded since its launch in 2009, and is now midway through Phase II, which will end in May 2012. As of May 2011, a new website for the Seventh Circuit Pilot program is accessible at: www.DiscoveryPilot.com. For more information, you can view the 2011 Pilot Project Interim Report and the revised Principles here.
Two recent acquisitions/mergers will help reshape the eDiscovery vendor landscape. Autonomy, one of the market leaders in the “meaning-based” computing movement, acquired much of archiving specialist Iron Mountain’s product lineup, including Stratify and Mimosa. In addition, Clearwell Systems, one of the leading eDiscovery platforms, was acquired by Symantec, the owner of leading archiving solution Enterprise Vault. In both cases, the combination of archiving technologies and eDiscovery platforms may well result in economies of scale and synergies not previously available. Clients and lawyers alike should continue to monitor how these mergers affect the eDiscovery landscape.