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Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

E-Discovery Still Stirring the Pot

Posted by rjbiii on February 19, 2010

While we continue to hear the complaints from corporate clients on the cost of e-discovery, the issue is beginning to affect attorneys and companies in other ways as well. As an example:

The Recorder posts an article discussing the suspension of a prosecutor once considered a rising star. From the article:

A California State Bar Court appellate panel has upheld a four-year suspension for former Santa Clara County prosecutor Benjamin Field, despite an amicus curiae brief from the California District Attorneys Association warning of a chilling effect on prosecutions.

The Bar review panel found it “inexcusable” and “disturbing” that Field, once a star in South Bay legal circles and considered a viable candidate for a judgeship, concealed evidence and ignored judges’ orders over a 10-year period. The ruling, released late Friday, also affirmed five years of probation.

In another story, ABC News tells the tale of the former Toyota attorney who is ready to divulge information about the car maker’s “illegal discovery practices” to Congress. Quoting the article:

“The information and documents I have regarding Toyota’s deceptive and illegal discovery practices will one day become publicly available,” [attorney Dimitrios] Biller said. “Our judicial system, government and the American people need to know how Toyota operates with total disregard of our laws and legal system.”

Finally, Judge Shira Scheindlin, of Zubulake fame, issued a new ruling that imposed sanctions on multiple plaintiffs for their failures to preserve evidence, despite the fact that [t]his case [did] not present any egregious examples of litigants purposefully destroying evidence. They just didn’t preserve the stuff they should have.

With any litigation, decisions about e-discovery processes involve risk assessments. I’d say some parties are not adequately evaluating that risk.

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2 Responses to “E-Discovery Still Stirring the Pot”

  1. Peterk said

    what bothers me more about the former Toyota attorney is that he left with over 7,000 documents/records in his position. Does Toyota have a records management program in place and if yes what procedures do they have in place to prevent such future thefts

  2. rjbiii said

    I think, from the corporate view, it’s difficult to protect yourself from theft of documents by high-ranking executives who necessarily have rights to access the company’s most sensitive documents. On the other hand, whistle-blowers tend to take documents with them to substantiate their allegations of unlawful activity. If those allegations prove well-founded, it’s tough to find fault with this type of “theft,” isn’t it? I mean, I understand the need for security, but it seems to me that the biggest concern is whether or not Toyota broke the law.

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