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December 29, 2023

My Top Blogs From 2023

I posted 104 items this year.  Several that may be worth re-reading are: How to Read a Load File More on “Modern Attachments,” “Pointers,” or Hyperlinked Documents – Humpty Dumpty and “Usability” Possession, Custody, or Control – Part II Don’t Be Too Nice When You Send a Preservation Notice Relevance Redactions Revisited […]
November 15, 2023

How to Avoid Contentious “Hit Report” Problems – Part III

Josh Gilliland’s Bow Tie law blog has often addressed the question of: “What happens when one party argues a producing party should produce all search term hits?”  His answer is “no,” production is not required until after review and culling.  See How to Avoid Contentious “Hit Report” Problems, and Hit Reports, citing, […]
October 4, 2023

Bob Dylan Awarded Discovery Sanctions After Dismissal of Tort Claims

“The Court awards sanctions in the amount of $5,000 against [Attorney No. 1] and $3,000 against [Attorney No. 2], payable to” Bob Dylan.  J.C. v. Robert A. Zimmerman a/k/a Bob Dylan, 2023 WL 6308493, at *12 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 28, 2023); P. Hayes, Bob Dylan Awarded Sanctions in Dismissed Sexual Assault Case (bloomberglaw.com)(Sept. […]
September 27, 2023

A Review of Sedona’s “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Practice of Law” by The Hon. Xavier Rodriguez

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Practice of Law,” by the Hon. Xavier Rodriguez, is available at 24 Sedona Conf. J. 783 (forthcoming 2023).[1]  The article focuses on issues that “practicing attorneys are likely to encounter and steps state bars and related entities should consider.” Id. at 786.  Sedona’s website states: Judge Rodriguez […]
July 12, 2023

Revocation of Consent to Search Mirror Image of Laptop

In State v. McDonnell, __ Md. __,  2023 WL 4393297, at *1 (July 7, 2023), the Supreme Court of Maryland held that a person who had consented to seizure of his laptop, as well as to creation of a mirror image, could withdraw consent to search it before the government examined the […]
April 25, 2023

What Hath Noom Wrought?

The “modern attachments” decision of Nichols v. Noom, Inc., 2021 WL 948646 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2021), generated a lot of buzz when it was issued. At its core, Noom held that hyperlinked files are generally not part of a transmitting email.  Said differently, when a party produces an email that contains a […]
March 16, 2023

eDiscovery Assistant’s 2022 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review Report

It is well worth downloading eDiscovery Assistant’s excellent 2022 eDiscovery Case Law Year in Review | eDiscovery Assistant. The Report provides interesting metrics about eDiscovery, such as the following chart: Id.  The Report states that “failure to produce” was the most litigated issue, followed by proportionality and sanctions.  Interestingly, “failure to preserve” […]
February 10, 2023

Sedona’s TAR Case Law Primer, 2nd ed.

The Sedona Conference has issued its public comment version of the TAR Case Law Primer, Second Edition.  It is available on Sedona’s website.  See also Jason R. Baron, Ralph C. Losey, and Michael D. Berman, eds., “Perspectives on Predicting Coding and Other Advanced Search Methods for the Legal Practitioner” (ABA 2016).
January 4, 2023

How to Avoid Contentious “Hit Report” Problems

Josh Gilliland’s blog, Search Term Agreements Do Not Eliminate Relevancy Review – Bow Tie Law (Jan. 2, 2023), addresses: What happens when one party argues a producing party should produce all search term hits? The answer is no. Moreover, wishing to get all hits is a formula for madness. Josh writes that, […]
December 28, 2022

Bowtielaw.com Blog on Search Terms and Predictive Coding

Josh Gilliland’s excellent blog To Use Search Terms Before or After Predictive Coding – Bow Tie Law (Dec. 28, 2022), addresses “a simple question with a complex answer: Should search terms be used before or after predictive coding? That question was the subject of dueling motions in In re Allergan Biocell Textured Breast Implant Prods. […]
December 16, 2022

What Do Judge Peck’s 2009 Wm. Gross Opinion and “Zoomers” Have to Do With Each Other?

“Zoomers” have their own style of communication.  Danielle April, Gen Z’s slang and emojis are confusing older colleagues at work – The Washington Post (Dec. 12-13, 2022). Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, have a “form of messaging” that creates “a quirky challenge for multigenerational workplaces….” Id.  For example, Ms. […]
November 14, 2022

Discovery From Cell Phones – Differing Civil and Criminal Protocols in Maryland

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes a big difference.  This is illustrated by two recent Maryland appellate decisions – – one civil, the other criminal – – regarding discovery from cell phones.  Cf. Richardson v. State, 481 Md. 423 (2022)(criminal), with St. Francis Academy, et al. v. Gilman School, Inc., […]
November 12, 2022

Is There a Duty to “’Fess Up?” – Part II

If a litigant has actual knowledge that an opponent’s proposed search terms will not “hit” on responsive, proportional ESI, does the litigant have a duty to tell the opponent?[1] In Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp. v. Dery, 2022 WL 3139391 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 5, 2022), the plaintiff, Advanced Magnesium, alleged that defendant Dery conspired […]
November 11, 2022

Be Careful What You Agree To, But the Duty to Cooperate May Provide an Escape Hatch (Part II)

In Advanced Magnesium Alloys Corp. v. Dery, 2022 WL 3139391 (S.D. Ind. Aug. 5, 2022), defendant, Alliance, agreed to search 159 terms.  However, when it produced the text messages “hitting” those terms, plaintiff found the texts to be cryptic and asked for more texts to provide context.  Alliance said – in my […]
August 14, 2022

Hit Reports

“Hit reports” have various names.[1]  One issue that has often arisen is whether a producing party must produce every document on a hit report requested by an opponent, even if irrelevant or nonresponsive to discovery requests.  Craig Ball has blogged on this issue since 2013.  However, his recent blog explains that “the […]
May 29, 2022

Historical ESI Highlights – Part VI – Victor Stanley and Keyword Searching

The prior blog discussed the historical acceptance of technology assisted review.  However, keyword searching remains an important and useful tool.  Mark Twain wrote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated….”  The same may be true of keyword searching. While there are many decisions and articles on keyword searching, one of the […]
May 28, 2022

Historical ESI Highlights – Part V – Technology Assisted Review

The Hon. Andrew Peck wrote that “[t]he first ‘technological’ innovation in document review came in 1980- when 3M® began selling Post-It Notes.”[1]  Two of Judge Peck’s later decisions led to the recognition of technology assisted review as a valid search methodology. In A Brief History of Technology Assisted Review (lawtechnologytoday.org)(Nov. 17, 2015), […]
May 27, 2022

Historical ESI Highlights – Part IV – Hopson & Fed.R.Evid. 502

Protection of privilege and work product material is costly and complex when it is buried in voluminous ESI. An opinion of the Hon. Paul W. Grimm, Hopson v. Mayor of Baltimore, 232 F.R.D. 228 (D. Md. 2005), prompted Congress to change the law and enact Fed.R.Evid. 502. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(5) created the “clawback” […]
May 16, 2022

Information Governance – Mis(?)-Labeling Documents as Privileged (Part IV)

Google’s “communicate with care” program has garnered a lot of attention.[1] It allegedly instructed employees to label any written communications on a certain topic as privileged and send them to in-house counsel.  The Department of Justice sought sanctions and an order compelling disclosure, asserting that the policy was pretextual. Google replied that […]
March 24, 2022

Maryland Appellate Decision Permitting Limited Forensic Search of Non-Parties’ Cell Phones

In St. Francis Academy, et al. v. Gilman School, Inc., No. 1390 (Md. Ct. Spl. Apls. Mar. 21, 2022) (unreported), the intermediate appellate court affirmed an order directing forensic imaging and searching of non-parties’ cell phones under a strict protocol to protect the cell phone owners’ privacy.  It carefully balanced the discovering […]
December 9, 2021

“Old” Sedona Paper Implements the “Specificity” Provision of Discovery Responses

In New Sedona Primer Implements the “Bull’s Eye View” of Discovery Requests, I discussed the recent “public comment” version of Sedona’s Primer on discovery requests.  Here, I discuss Sedona’s 2018 “Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b)(2) Primer: Practice Pointers for Responding to Discovery Requests,” 19 Sedona Conf.J. 447 (2018), in conjunction with […]
August 17, 2021

What is a “Document?”

Back in the days of paper-based litigation, it was rare to argue over the definition of a “document.”[1]  Usually, it was clear where a letter, memo, or contract began and ended.  But, ESI is much different than paper and recent cases bring that issue to the forefront. In Sandoz v. Un. Therapeutics […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 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 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 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 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 […]
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 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 […]
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. […]