Michael Berman

July 22, 2021

The Perils of a Misfocused Preservation Letter

In a preservation letter, a potential litigant demands that the opponent preserve specific ESI and documents.  The purpose of the letter is to trigger the common-law duty to preserve potentially responsive information.  However, if not properly drafted, a preservation letter can have the opposite effect.  Malone v. Wicomico County, MD, 2021 WL […]
July 21, 2021

Burden of Proof: Sanctions for Intentional Deletion of Text Messages

In a prior blog, “Burden of Proof of Spoliation,” I noted District of Maryland authority holding that: “Absent guidance from the Fourth Circuit, ‘the general approach of courts in the Fourth Circuit has been to apply the clear and convincing evidence standard, especially where a relatively harsh sanction like an adverse inference […]
July 20, 2021

Does Rule 37(E)(i) Mandate “Document Correlation” When ESI is Produced and, If So, Does Metadata Provide a “Work-Around” to Avoid the Costs of That Correlation Process?

There has long been a split of opinion as to the applicability of the “document correlation” provision of Rule 34(E)(i) to the production of ESI.*  In April of this year, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania weighed in.**  There is, however, a straightforward way to avoid the problem.  It involves negotiation, cooperation, and […]
July 19, 2021

Facebook: Deactivation v. Deletion; Authentication With Native Files; and, Searching

As one of the most popular social media sites, Facebook is the subject of numerous ESI cases.  Three recent decisions address deactivation v. deletion, the value of native Facebook files when authentication is disputed, and the search for responsive information. DEACTIVATION OR DELETION? Brown v. SSA Atlantic, LLC, 2021 WL 1015891 (S.D.Ga. […]
July 18, 2021

Feds Can’t Hire ESI Vendor in Capitol Siege Criminal Cases

Federal prosecutors have been precluded from hiring an ESI vendor to assist with massive e-discovery in criminal cases arising out of the January 6th prosecutions. Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP is barred from helping federal prosecutors and other government staff sort and organize the huge volumes of electronic data and other evidence […]
May 14, 2021

The Duty of Inquiry and Sanctions for Failure to Investigate Client’s Claim

In two recent decisions, the District of Maryland has imposed sanctions for failure to properly investigate a client’s documents.  Taken together, Bioiberica Nebraska and Membreno show that the Court expects a reasonable inquiry into information that is within a party’s possession, custody, or practical control.  Filings or representations that contradict such information […]
May 13, 2021

Damage Control Method

Bloomberg Law reports that a company has allegedly mishandled potentially important emails in a 70,000 person class action.  J. Feeley and D. Glovin, “Sanofi Accused of Destroying Emails Tied to Zantac Recall” (Bloomberg May 11, 2021).  The potential spoliator’s response is instructive. In the products liability action, plaintiffs allege that the defendant’s […]
March 26, 2021

Negotiating Searches Using “Hit” Reports

Josh Gilliland’s Bow Tie Law blog published a description of search term negotiations using “hit reports” in a recent decision from the Southern District of New York.  J. Gilliland, “Precision Search Terms in Discovery” (Mar. 23, 2021). Josh describes the back-and-forth exchange of information necessary in a cooperative approach to search. For […]
March 25, 2021

Categorical Privilege Logs: Don’t Shoot a Mouse with an Elephant Gun

It is axiomatic that privilege logging is one of the most time-consuming and risky aspects of e-discovery. I wrote about itemized and categorical privilege logs in M. Berman, et al., eds., “Managing E-Discovery and ESI: From Pre-Litigation Through Trial” (ABA 2011), Chap. 5.  In an itemized log, every email and every attachment […]
March 24, 2021

Using Digital Forensics to Protect Trade Secrets

Misappropriation of trade secrets cases are increasingly digital. For example, a former employer may seek discovery of a new employer’s information.  As discussed in “The Gang That Couldn’t Spoliate Straight,” forensic analysis is often necessary.  Craig Ball’s post, “What’s in a Name (or Hash Value)?” discussed some forensic options. A recent American […]
March 16, 2021

Surveillance Video of Robbery Was Properly Authenticated by Eyewitness

In Karn v. State, 2021 WL 515388 (Md. Ct. Spl. Apls. Feb. 11, 2021) (unreported), the Court affirmed a holding that the State had laid a proper foundation for admitting surveillance video. The Court applied the Court of Appeals’ decisions in State v. Sample, 468 Md. 560, 588 (2020), and Sublet v. […]
March 16, 2021

Electronic Communications to a Class Action Advertising Web Site Deemed Not Privileged

Top Class Actions (“TCA”) ran a website “that provides information, among other things, about class actions, class action settlements, and class action investigations.”  The site contained attorney advertising and articles concerning class actions and mass torts.  Defendants served a subpoena on TCA seeking, among other things, communications from claimants and with law […]
March 14, 2021

Maryland’s Confusing Spoliation Doctrine

In Giant of Maryland LLC v. Webb, __ A.3d__, 2021 WL 733828 (Md. Ct. Spl. Apls. Feb. 25, 2021), Maryland’s intermediate appellate court defined spoliation to require intent and recognized that negligence may suffice.  The Court’s holding was that, because the moving party failed to provide an adequate factual foundation, no sanction […]
March 12, 2021

Can a Lawyer Ethically “Reply All” to an Opposing Client?

New Jersey Ethics Opinion 739 (Mar. 10, 2021), again points to the dangers of copying one’s client on communications to opposing counsel. I discussed the ethical dangers of attorneys using “reply all” in a prior post.  If an attorney “cc’s” the attorney’s client on a communication to opposing counsel, what happens when […]
March 7, 2021

Trade Secret – Can Damaged Party Obtain Ex-Worker’s Emails Sent on New Employer’s System?

Trade secret litigation invariably involves ESI.  Craig Ball has written “What’s in a Name (or Hash Value)?,” discussing the use of hash values and file names in tracking down stolen data.  In “The Gang That Couldn’t Spoliate Straight,” I discussed an order that the alleged wrongdoer preserve ESI and the potential issues […]
March 6, 2021

Rules Matter: A “Perry Mason Moment” Was Derailed by a Discovery Violation

Black v. New England Computer Svcs., Inc., 2021 WL 822319 (D. Conn. Mar. 4, 2021), demonstrates the importance of following court disclosure rules and protocols.  The value of critical evidence was blunted by a failure to do so. “The practice of law may be poetically likened to sailing a ship. Constitutions, case […]
February 18, 2021

Email: “It seemed like a neat idea.”

“Ray Tomlinson is quoted as saying he invented email, ‘Mostly because it seemed like a neat idea.’ No one was asking for email.”  M. Bellis, “The History of Email” (ThoughtCo. Aug. 4, 2017).
February 17, 2021

Who Invented the Mouse a/k/a the X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System?

It is often amazing how little we know of the history of everyday devices. Who invented the telephone?  We all know the answer. What about the mouse that is sitting next to your hand right now? The mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart.  J. Freeman, The Tyranny of E-Mail:  The Four-Thousand Year […]
February 16, 2021

Who First Used the @ Sign in Domains and What Does It Mean?

Every day, we use computers and drive cars with no knowledge of what makes them tick.  Consider the humble “@” sign.  How many times did you use it today? “Ray Tomlinson chose the @ symbol to tell which user was ‘at’ what computer. The @ goes in between the user’s login name […]
February 14, 2021

Marc Hirschfeld’s Legal Week Presentation

Marc Hirschfeld’s presentation at Legal Week, “Navigating the Pitfalls of E-Discovery for Boutique Litigators,” is well worth watching on Vimeo and Legal Week. Marc is the owner and president of Precision Legal Services.  Marc and I have collaborated on many projects. Marc discusses a number of topics in the one-hour video.  Among […]
February 14, 2021

What Was the First Email Message?

On May 24, 1844, Samuel Morse sent a telegraph message and famously asked: “What hath G-d wrought?” Do you know who sent the first email or the message it conveyed? In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email message.  It was “QWERTYUIOP.”  M. Bellis, “The History of Email” (ThoughtCo. Aug. 4, 2017). […]
February 13, 2021

Recovery of ESI Costs: “The fuss is about money…. [E]lectronic discovery is really expensive.”

In 2012, the Supreme Court’s Kan Pacific decision narrowed the scope of costs that may be awarded in federal cases.  “Taxation of E-Discovery Costs Under 28 U.S.C. §1920(4) after Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan” (Aug. 14, 2012).  In that blog, I suggested: When it comes to electronically stored information (“ESI”), “[t]he fuss […]
February 13, 2021

What Was the First Online Game Played?

In the 1840’s, the telegraph was used to play board games between towns.  See M. Berman, et al., eds., “Managing E-Discovery and ESI: From Pre-Litigation Through Trial” (ABA 2011), 753, citing Standage, “The Victorian Internet” (Walker & Co. 1998, 2007).  “Bored and lonely [telegraph] operators would also play checkers over the wires, […]
February 12, 2021

“[I]t is no longer amateur hour.”

In a February 11, 2021, post,   Court Enforces Strict Sanctions For Failing To Be Competent In ESI Obligations | Farrell Fritz, P.C. – JDSupra , the author describes the sanctions decision in In DR Distributors, LLC v. 21 Century Smoking, Inc., a trademark dispute over electronic cigarettes, stating: As noted by Judge Johnson, “[i]t […]
February 11, 2021

When Was the First Online Wedding? – William Storey and Clara Choate’s Love Story

Today, you can get married on Zoom.  But nothing’s new. The first online wedding took place by telegraph in the 1800’s.  See M. Berman, et al., eds., “Managing E-Discovery and ESI: From Pre-Litigation Through Trial” (ABA 2011), 753, citing Standage, “The Victorian Internet” (Walker & Co. 1998, 2007), 127-28.  Standage describes a […]
February 7, 2021

District of Maryland’s Recent Application of Spoliation Doctrine in Discrimination Case

In Membreno v. Atlanta Restaurant Partners, LLC, 2021 WL 351174 (D. Md. Feb. 2, 2021), the Court applied the spoliation doctrine in an employment discrimination case. The plaintiff alleged injury due to a hostile work environment and discrimination based on gender identity and sex.  The Court wrote: “Discovery was contentious….”  The plaintiff […]
February 7, 2021

When Should a Spoliation Motion Be Filed and Decided? – – An Update

In Membreno v. Atlanta Restaurant Partners, LLC, 2021 WL 351174 (D. Md. Feb. 2, 2021), the Court penalized a litigant for her untimely filing of a spoliation motion, even though the motion had merit.  While the Court granted the request for sanctions, it denied a request for attorneys’ fees due to the […]
February 4, 2021

Requests for “Any and All” Documents Are Obsolete

In the ancient year of 2009, Gil Greenman and James Weingarten, of Williams & Connolly LLP, wrote “Beware the Use of Absolute Language Regarding Electronically Stored Information,” 9 Digital Discovery and e-Evidence 11 (BNA Nov. 1, 2009). Their thesis was simple and correct: “All,” “any,” and “every” are dangerous words when describing […]
January 29, 2021

Some Tactical Options for Businesses Faced With Pre-Litigation Preservation Demands

After litigation starts, a business faced with unreasonable preservation or discovery demands can resort to the court’s procedural rules to request relief from a judge.  However, the duty to preserve potentially responsive information often arises in a “free for all” zone before litigation is commenced.  In that situation, there is no umpire […]
January 24, 2021

“The Gang That Couldn’t Spoliate Straight”

A few years ago, the Hon. Paul W. Grimm wrote: “At the end of the day, this is the case of the ‘gang that couldn’t spoliate straight.’”  Victor Stanley, Inc. v. Creative Pipe, Inc., 269 F.R.D. 497, 501 (D. Md. 2010). That description is equally applicable to the conduct that led to a […]
January 17, 2021

Documenting When the Duty to Preserve Potentially Responsive Information Was Triggered

It may be prudent to document the analysis of the point at which a potential litigant believes that its duty to impose a legal hold, or “litigation hold,” has or has not been triggered.  While it may not be dispositive, documentation may be useful in the event of a subsequent allegation of […]
January 16, 2021

Courts Cannot Order a “Quick Peek” Without Consent

In U.S. Equal Employment Opp. Comm’n. v. The George Washington University, 2020 WL 3489478 (D.D.C. June 26, 2020), the court held that a party cannot be ordered to provide a “quick peek” without its consent.  In doing so, it carefully analyzed and rejected contrary precedent. In Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. U.S., 134 […]
January 13, 2021

Application of Maryland’s Evidentiary “Unfriending” Rule to Recent Events?

The Baltimore Sun reports that:  “In Maryland and beyond, those who once bragged about overrunning the Capitol are now deleting their [social media] photos ….” T. Prudente, “As scrutiny intensifies over deadly U.S. Capitol riots, Marylanders delete photos, social media trails,” The Baltimore Sun (Jan. 12, 2021). That alleged action may have […]
January 11, 2021

Maryland’s Spoliation Standard

Maryland courts have addressed spoliation since Love v. Dilley, 64 Md. 238 (1885). In a recent published decision addressing spoliation, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court wrote: Spoliation is a doctrine grounded in fairness and symmetry. The doctrine is premised upon the principle that a party should not be allowed to support its claims […]
January 9, 2021

Maryland’s Intermediate Court Affirms Denial of Sanction for Spoliation of Video Evidence

An unreported decision of the intermediate appellate court provides an interesting contrast to Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 469 Md. 704 (2020), which is discussed in a prior blog. In Benson v. ALDI, Inc., 2019 WL 5704532 (Md. Ct. Spl. Apls. Nov. 5, 2019), summary judgment was affirmed […]
January 8, 2021

Maryland’s High Court Affirms Sanction for Spoliation of Video Evidence

“I just delete. I delete – delete. Anything there that I don’t want, don’t need anymore, I delete.” Peterson v. Evapco, Inc., 238 Md. App. 1, 21 (2018).  That is an invitation to disaster.  Steamfitters Local Union No. 602 v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 469 Md. 704 (2020), involved spoliation in the context […]
January 4, 2021

The Ethical Dangers of Attorneys Using “Reply All”

In a May 2011 post, I discussed Computer Usage Policies and the “Reply All” Button. A recent article has expanded on that discussion.  Erika Stillabower, “The (Ethical) Risks of ‘Reply All’,” The Washington Lawyer (July/August 2020), 54. Ms. Stillabower describes situations where opposing counsel “cc’s” that attorney’s client on an email.  She […]
January 3, 2021

Is Cremation, Burial, or Suicide Spoliation?

While this blog is focused on ESI, Maryland State courts have been asked to apply the spoliation doctrine in unique contexts.  They have addressed whether: Cremation is spoliation, Adventist Healthcare v. Mattingly, 244 Md.App. 259 (2020); Jarrett v. State, 220 Md. App. 571 (2014); Burial is spoliation, Hollingsworth & Vose Co. v. […]
January 2, 2021

Unsupervised Self-Collection Predictably Led to Problems

In Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n. v M1 5100 Corp, 2020 WL 3581372 (S.D. Fl. July 2, 2020), unsupervised self-collection by a client created a situation that “greatly troubles and concerns the Court.”  There, an attorney permitted the client to determine what ESI it would search for and produce.  This process ran afoul […]
December 28, 2020

Forensic Analysis Trips Up Oklahoma Attorney

A post in Bloomberg Law, authored by Rebekah Mintzer, describes a “State Attorney Who Sent Threatening Emails to Herself [and Was] Suspended” (June 18, 2020).  The article states that the attorney obtained a fictitious email account and sent threatening emails to her official government email address.  She then allegedly reported them to […]
December 27, 2020

Searching for Privileged Information

As if searching for privileged information prior to production was not already difficult enough, Jessica A. Huse, Esq., has blogged about a potential complication.  See J. Huse, “Pushing the Limit: The District of Oregon Concludes that the Attorney-Client Privilege May Apply to Communications Not Involving Attorneys” (Gibbons Law Alert Dec. 22, 2020). […]
December 27, 2020

Triggering the Duty to Preserve ESI

Two recent decisions of the District of Maryland demonstrate when the duty to preserve is triggered in the context of spoliation motions.  Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n. v. MVM, Inc., 2020 WL 6482193 (D. Md. Nov. 2, 2020) (“MVM“); Eller v. Prince George’s Co. Public Schools, et al., 2020 WL 7336730 (D. Md. […]
December 26, 2020

Discovery of the Identity of a Person Associated With an I.P. Address

In Strike 3 Holdings, LLC v. John Doe, 2020 WL 7640943 (D. Md. Dec. 23, 2020), the Court authorized, but only in a strictly limited way, a subpoena to a third-party internet service provider to discover the identity of the person associated with an “IP,” or Internet Protocol, address on a specific […]
December 26, 2020

When Should a Spoliation Motion Be Filed and Decided?

Several recent decisions from the District of Maryland address the question of when a spoliation motion should be filed and decided.  Eller v. Prince George’s Co. Public Schools, et al., 2020 WL 7336730 (D. Md. Dec. 14, 2020); Shackelford v. Vivint Solar Developer, LLC, 2020 WL 5203340 (D. Md. September 1, 2020); […]
December 25, 2020

No Sanctions Despite Truncated Search

In In Re: Smith & Nephew Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (Bhr) Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2775, Master Docket No. 1:17-md-2775 (D. Md. Dec. 23, 2020), the Court denied a sanctions motion, attributing a failure to produce  an inconsistent email to search parameters that were too narrow.  The Court held that […]
December 20, 2020

Burden of Proof of Spoliation

“The burden of proof on a motion for spoliation sanctions is unsettled.”  Steves & Sons, Inc. v. JELD-WEN, Inc., 327 F.R.D. 96, 104 (E.D. Va. 2018). Two recent District of Maryland decisions have held that, at least where a relatively harsh sanction is involved, a clear and convincing standard applies: “The burden […]
December 19, 2020

Judicial Postings on Social Media

A few months ago, a Tennessee judge who was going through “a rough time” in his life, was publicly reprimanded for sending inappropriate messages to women on social media platforms. Some of the messages pictured him in a judicial robe.  D. Weiss, “Judge is reprimanded for ‘flirtatious to overtly sexual social media […]
December 11, 2020

The “Practical Ability” Standard for “Control” in Maryland

In Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n. v. MVM, Inc., 2020 WL 6482193 (D. Md. Nov. 2, 2020), the Court again followed a “practical ability” plus notification standard for determining when ESI is within a party’s possession, custody, or control, and what should be done if it is not.  Maryland State courts appear to […]
December 1, 2020

When is a Litigation Hold Notice Discoverable?

A recent ABA practice point described Radiation Oncology Servs. of Cent. N.Y., P.C. v. Our Lady of Lourdes Mem’l Hosp., Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op 20133, ¶ 2, 69 Misc. 3d 209, 126 N.Y.S.3d 873, 875 (Sup. Ct.) (decided June 9, 2020) (Masler, J.). In Radiation Oncology, the court addressed when a litigation hold […]
November 28, 2020

The Duty to Preserve Continues Even After Production of Social Media

In Faulkner v. Aero Fulfillment Services, 2020 WL 3048177 (S.D.Oh. June 8, 2020), the court held that deactivation of a LinkedIn site after it had been downloaded and produced breached the duty to preserve that ESI.  However, the sanction was limited to an admonishment due to the absence of prejudice. The problem […]
November 27, 2020

Rule 26(g) Sanctions for Failure to Supervise Document Collection and Review

In Optronic Tech, Inc. v. Ningbo Sunny Elec. Co., Ltd., 2020 WL 2838806 (N.D. Cal. June 1, 2020), sanctions were imposed against defense counsel, essentially because the court determined that trial counsel had attempted to hand off their Rule 26(g) obligations to their client’s inside counsel. There were several key points.  Defense […]
June 8, 2020

The Sedona Conference and Its Impact on E-Discovery

Kenneth J. Withers of the Sedona Conference has posted a chapter from M. Berman, et al., eds., “Electronic Discovery in Maryland Courts” (MSBA 2020), on the Sedona Conference’s web site.  The Sedona Conference has had, and continues to have, a pivotal role in e-discovery.  Sedona papers were cited by the Court of Appeals […]
May 12, 2020

Publication of M. Berman, et al., eds., ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION IN THE MARYLAND COURTS (2020)

I am pleased to announce the publication by the Maryland State Bar Association of M. Berman, et al., eds.,  ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION IN THE MARYLAND COURTS (2020). This book is intended as a practitioner’s handbook addressing primarily – but not exclusively – how ESI is addressed in Maryland State courts, comparing and […]
May 12, 2020

“Unfriending” Evidence – Maryland Follows “Reasonable Juror” Standard in Authentication of Social Media

In State v Sample, __ Md. __, 2020 WL 2316709 at *3 (May 11, 2020), the Court of Appeals of Maryland concluded that “that the standard of proof for authenticating social media evidence is the preponderance of evidence standard, i.e., there must be sufficient circumstantial evidence for a reasonable juror to find […]
September 17, 2017

Mention in eDiscoveryPM.com

It was very nice to be mentioned by Michael I. Quartararo, Esq., author of “Project Management in Electronic Discovery” (2016) in the eDiscoveryPM blog.  See “Correcting the Record: Searching Attachments in Outlook.”  Mr. Quartararo’s book explains the application of legal project management principles (“LPM”) to e-discovery projects.  He defines “project management” as “the structured application […]
September 16, 2017

Decision of Court of Appeals of Maryland in Doe v. Alternative Medicine Maryland, LLC

After issuing a bypass writ or certiorari and hearing oral argument, the Court of Appeals of Maryland issued its decision in Doe v Alternative Medicine Maryland LLC, __ Md.__, 2017 WL 3668100 (2017).
July 25, 2015

The Duty to Preserve & the Spoliation Doctrine in the Maryland State Courts

My article, “The Duty to Preserve ESI (Its Trigger, Scope, and Limit) & the Spoliation Doctrine in Maryland State Courts” was recently published in the University of Baltimore Law Forum, Vol. 45 (2015).  The article discusses Maryland case law addressing the issue, suggests a modern analytical framework, and concludes with a cautionary […]
August 20, 2012

News Report: Update on Mark T. Pappas of Victor Stanley v. Creative Pipe “Fame”

The August 19 2012, Maryland Daily Record reports that “Fuvista” CEO Mark T. Pappas was conditionally released after two weeks in jail.  He reportedly wired $120,000 to pay a portion of the civil sanctions in the Victor Stanley v. Creative Pipe case.  The Daily Record reports that The Hon. Marvin J. Garbis […]
August 19, 2012

“Too Much Evidence” – Criminal Charges Dismissed

The ABA reports that federal prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against a doctor in a massive online pharmacy case because it has become too costly to pursue the case.  M. McDonough, “Too Much Evidence Cited as Reason for Dropping Drug Charges Against Fugitive Doctor,” (ABA Aug. 17, 2012).  The case involved two […]
August 18, 2012

News Report: Mr. Mark T. Pappas of Victor Stanley v. Creative Pipe “Fame” Denied Bail

The Maryland Daily Record reports that Mr. Mark T. Pappas, protagonist in the “Victor Stanley case,” was denied bail “because of his ‘long history’ of noncompliance [with Court orders] and ‘lack of candor’ in the [Victor Stanley] litigation.  Ben Mook, “Back from Belize, Pappas denied bail,” The Daily Record, Aug. 15, 2012.  […]
August 18, 2012

Book Review: “Zubulake’s e-Discovery: The Untold Story of My Search for Justice,” by Ms. Laura A. Zubulake

Ms. Laura A. Zubulake has published an account of her experiences as the plaintiff in the groundbreaking “Zubulake case.”  The book is entitled Zubulake’s e-Discovery: The Untold Story of My Quest for Justice. According to Shepard’s, the first decision in that string of decisions, Zubulake v. UBS Warburg, LLC, 217 F.R.D. 309 […]
August 14, 2012

Taxation of E-Discovery Costs Under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1920(4) after Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan

UPDATED February 13, 2021: “Recovery of ESI Costs: ‘The fuss is about money…. [E]lectronic discovery is really expensive.’” Note: This post was first published in “The Daily Record” on Aug. 12, 2012.  The original may be viewed by clicking here. * * * * When it comes to electronically stored information (“ESI”), […]
July 14, 2012

Book Review: “Electronic Discovery for Small Cases” (ABA 2012)

Bruce Olson and Tom O’Connor, “Electronic Discovery for Small Cases” (ABA 2012), addresses one of the most important topics in the ESI field, proportionality, in an elegant, clear, and concise manner. Its chief virtue is that, instead of listing a parade of horribles and describing multi-million dollar sanctions awards, it provides low-cost […]
August 7, 2011

Mock Rule 26(f) Conference of Parties Posted Online

A mock Rule 26(f) conference of parties has been posted online through the Technology Committee of the Litigation Section of the Maryland State Bar Association. Although much has been written about Rule 26(f) conferences, see, e.g., Chapter 19 in M. Berman, C. Barton, and The Hon. P. Grimm, eds., “Managing E-Discovery and […]
July 30, 2011

American Bar Assoc., Publishes Berman, et al., Managing E-Discovery and ESI

The American Bar Association has  published M. Berman, C. Barton, and P. Grimm, eds., Managing E-Discovery and ESI: From Pre-Litigation Through Trial.  The 761-page work features chapters by The Hon. Paul W. Grimm (D.Md.), The Hon. John M. Facciola (D.D.C.),  The Hon. James C. Francis IV (S.D.N.Y.), and The Hon. Joseph F. […]
July 15, 2011

What Does “The Making of a Surgeon” Have to Do With ESI and “Software Glitches?”

“The Making of a Surgeon” In 1968, Dr. William A. Nolen wrote “The Making of a Surgeon” (Mid-List Press 1968, 1990): How do you make a surgeon? Not by the preliminaries, the four years of college and four years of medical school that have to be gone through to earn an M.D. […]
June 30, 2011

Proportionality in Government e-Discovery – June 2011 IQPC Presentation

Government litigants have an enormous impact on civil litigation. Because the United States is the most frequent and successful litigant in the federal courts, the federal government as a litigant plays “a central role in the development of law and policy in the United States courts.” G. Sisk, Litigation with the Federal […]
May 26, 2011

Self-Identification and Self-Preservation: A Fool for a Client?

“Self-preservation” is the ESI equivalent of “do-it-yourself” home repair.  If successful, it can save money.  If not, it can lead to bigger problems.  Recent decisions arising out of self-preservation disasters have posed the question of whether it is ever a viable technique to preserve and review ESI. A well-known commentator and The […]
May 24, 2011

Metadata May Not Be a Public Record in Maryland

As of October 1, 2011, Maryland will permit custodians of public records to scrub unprivileged metadata from those records, apparently at the requestor’s cost, before producing those records under the State analog to the Freedom of Information Act.  The statute, SB 74, Chapter 536 of the 2011 Laws of Maryland, amends the […]
May 2, 2011

Maryland Murder Conviction Reversed Over MySpace Page

May 2020 UPDATE:  Please see “Unfriending” Evidence – Maryland Follows “Reasonable Juror Standard in Authentication of Social Media. In Griffin v. State, No. 74 (Sept. Term, Apr. 28, 2011), Maryland’s highest court reversed a murder conviction because printed MySpace pages were not properly authenticated. Mr. Griffin was charged with shooting another person.  […]
May 2, 2011

Computer Usage Policies and the “Reply All” Button

Businesses manage their information technology assets through computer usage policies. Tonya L. Johnson recently provided an interesting post on the American Bar Association site.  Noting the potential for error when “reply all” is selected inadvertently, she wrote that the market research firm, Nielsen, had removed that option from employee email systems.  Ms. Johnson […]
April 25, 2011

iPad App for Depositions

Joshua Gilliland, author of the Bow Tie blog and Bow Tie Law blog, and president of Majority Opinion, LLC, was kind enough to provide me with a complimentary copy of  his new iPad App, called The Deponent App.  Deponent marries document assembly principles with a database of stock deposition questions that can be […]
April 18, 2011

Kate Paslin Demonstrates Access Data CaseVantage 6 and Summation iBlaze

Kate Paslin, Assistant General Counsel of AccessData Corporation, presented and discussed a number of the company’s software products to a University of Baltimore law school ESI seminar.  Kate discussed  CaseVantage 6 with secure sharing over web-based portals and the ability to define user profiles for, for example, expert witnesses or document reviewers, […]
April 17, 2011

Patrick Burke Demonstrates EnCase Portable

Patrick Burke, Assistant General Counsel, described the capabilities of Guidance Software’s EnCase suite of applications to a University of Baltimore School of Law ESI seminar.  In addition to enterprise collection and forensic preservation capabilities, Mr. Burke discussed the project-based capabilities of the new, low-cost EnCase Portable software.  This product is simple to […]
April 10, 2011

Berman is Co-Developer of Law School ESI Seminar

Sensei Enterprises, Inc., president Sharon D. Nelson, reported on a law school ESI seminar, as follows:  “In the spring of 2008, The Honorable Paul W. Grimm and [Mike Berman] developed a three-credit ESI workshop for law school students.  The class was first offered at the University of Baltimore School of Law, and […]
April 1, 2011

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Premium Finance Cos.

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland ruled in favor of a large group of premium finance companies that had been denied the timely hearing required by Maryland statutes, in a recent decision in AFCO Credit Corp., et al. v. Maryland Insurance Administration.  The companies are challenging a ruling of the former […]
October 5, 2010

Berman Prevails On Commercial Free Speech Issue

The Attorney General of Maryland issued a formal opinion agreeing with commercial free speech arguments presented by Berman and RLLS in a matter pending before the Maryland Lottery Commission.  “Referenda – First Amendment – Gaming – Slot Machines – Whether State Lottery Commission May Limit Licensee’s Participation in Referendum Related to Another […]
September 11, 2010

Sedona Conference and Victor Stanley II Court Cite Law Review Proportionality Article

In a law review article, co-authored  by Michael Berman, entitled “Proportionality in the Post-Hoc Analysis of Pre-Litigation Preservation Decisions,” 37 U.Balt.L.Rev. 381, 384 (2008), the writers argued that application of the cost-benefit provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to pre-litigation preservation decisions would help reduce the current uncertainty regarding the […]
July 20, 2010

State’s top court rules that referendum on Arundel Mills slots is legal

The Baltimore Sun reported on the arguments before the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest Court, on the “slots” referendum.  “Michael D. Berman, an attorney for the Maryland Jockey Club and the citizens group Citizens Against Slots at the Mall, argued before the court Tuesday morning that the right to […]
July 20, 2010

“Slots” Referendum Argument in Maryland Court of Appeals

WBAL TV reported that during oral argument in the State’s highest court, “Michael Berman, an attorney for a group that opposes putting the casino near Arundel Mills Mall, said the framework of the constitutional amendment approved by Maryland voters in 2008 imposed the possibility of local discretion on where a casino could […]
July 20, 2010

Webcast: Berman’s Oral Argument in Court of Appeals of Maryland

This is a link to a webcast of Berman’s July 20, 2010, oral argument in the Court of  Appeals of Maryland.  The Court issued an order that same day ruling in favor of the appellants represented by Mr. Berman.  Citizens Against Slots at the Mall, et al. v. PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC, […]
June 3, 2010

Arundel Slots Trial Ends

The Baltimore Sun reported on the seven-day hearing on the “slots” referendum in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, reporting that: “Michael Berman, an attorney for the community group, said the board [of elections] used ‘evenhanded, reasonable decision-making’ and that further examination of the carefully completed process would ‘disenfranchise voters based on […]
May 26, 2010

Berman’s Objections to Proffered Evidence Sustained

On May 26, 2010, the Maryland Daily Record reported that Judge “Silkworth granted lawyer Michael Berman’s objections to both types of testimony, saying the line of questioning was beyond the scope of his inquiry into Cordish’s legal challenge to the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections’ approval of the petition drive. [Judge] […]
May 25, 2010

Berman Rebuts Opponent’s Argument

When opponents of the referendum petition argued that CASM is a “non-existent entity” created by the jockey club to disguise its involvement in the petition drive, they said:  “It [CASM] was a deception to the prospective signers.” Michael Berman, arguing for CASM and others, responded:  “I am here representing the non-existent entity […]
April 16, 2010

Trial Court Argument on Slots Referendum

On April 16, the Annapolis Capital reported that Michael D. Berman argued in favor of a referendum petition and stated that the challenge “seeks to chill and taint the ongoing election campaign,’ said attorney Michael Berman, who represents Citizens Against Slots at The Mall, one of the groups formed to push the petition […]