On May 29-30, 2014, the Judicial Conference’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (the “Standing Committee”) met and approved the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (For background information on the proposed amendments, see our previous blog posts from May 27, 2014, February 10, 2014, and May 6, 2013.) The Standing Committee approved the entire slate of proposed amendments, including changes to the scope of discovery, as defined in Rule 26(b)(1), and changes to the standard to be applied by courts when imposing curative measures or sanctions for the spoliation of electronically stored information, as per Rule 37(e). Before approving the proposed amendments, the Standing Committee made several minor revisions, including changes to the proposed Committee Notes to Rules 26 and 37 (the meeting minutes setting forth the precise changes were not available as of writing). The Agenda Book from the Standing Committee’s meeting is available.
Author: Gibbons P.C.
ABA Says that Attorneys May Investigate Jurors’ Social Media Presence, Even if Automatic Notifications are Generated
The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility recently weighed in on the ethical parameters of attorneys’ investigation of jurors’ social media presence. In ABA Formal Opinion 466, the Committee concluded that an attorney may review a juror’s social media presence; an attorney may undertake that review even if the social media website issues a notice to the juror that the attorney viewed his social media profile; and an attorney may not request private access to a juror’s social media profile.
In a recent decision, the New Jersey Appellate Division held that a trial court’s adverse inference instruction for e-discovery misconduct was an unreasonably harsh penalty where the electronically stored information (ESI) was eventually produced. The Appellate Division’s opinion in Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Viking Industrial Security, Inc. illustrates and reaffirms the principle that discovery sanctions must be just and reasonable, and proportional to the prejudice caused to an adversary, regardless of bad faith or willfulness of the misconduct.
Exploration of Sophisticated Cloud Computing Abilities Unnecessary When Responding to Discovery Demands
A new decision out of the District of New Jersey holds that a company need not utilize its cloud-based comprehensive document search tools absent evidence that its standard custodian-based approach to data collection was deficient. In Koninklijke Philips v. Hunt Control Systems, a multi-billion dollar trademark dispute, defendant Hunt Control Systems, Inc. (“Hunt”) served plaintiff Koninklijke Philips N.V. (“Philips”) with discovery demands that included requests for production of electronically stored information (“ESI”). To prepare its response, Philips requested information from eight specific employees.
Rule Amendments Update: Advisory Committee Approves Proposed Changes, But Not Before Rewriting Rule 37(e)
Like many, we’ve been following closely the process to amend the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See our previous blog posts from May 6, 2013 and February 10, 2014.) Last month, the Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure took the next step in that process by approving the proposed amendments and submitting them to the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure for its review and possible approval. But before doing so, the Advisory Committee took the particularly noteworthy step of completely rewriting the proposed amendment to Rule 37(e).
Gibbons Directors to Speak at Upcoming ‘Cybersecurity in Securities Markets’ Bloomberg BNA Webinar – May 14
On May 14, from 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Gibbons Directors John R. Hewitt, Mark S. Sidoti, and Kevin G. Walsh, along with Timothy P. Ryan of Kroll Advisory Solutions Cyber Investigations, will speak at Bloomberg BNA’s webinar – “Cybersecurity in Securities Markets.” This program will provide an in-depth understanding of cybersecurity requirements on a state and federal level. The webinar will follow closely the content of the new Bloomberg BNA Securities Practice Series Portfolio, Cybersecurity in the Federal Securities Markets, written by John R. Hewitt that is now available at the Bloomberg BNA Bookstore at http://www.bna.com/cybersecurity-federal-securities-p17179889693/.
Takeda Part Two: Destroy Evidence, Pay the Price — Eli Lilly and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Get Hit For $9 Billion Punitive Damages Verdict
Recently, in In re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 11-2299, a Louisiana federal jury awarded $9 billion in punitive damages against Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (“Takeda”) and Eli Lilly & Co. (“Lilly”). The verdict was delivered on the heels of Judge Rebecca Doherty’s January opinion, which lambasted Takeda for failing to (1) enforce its own litigation hold and (2) follow its document retention procedures, which led to the destruction of relevant evidence that Judge Doherty found would have likely been beneficial for the plaintiffs’ case.
An opinion from Judge Rebecca Doherty in In re Actos (Pioglitazone) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 11-2299, provides valuable lessons on the consequences of drafting overly-broad litigation hold notices, as well as the importance of providing evidence from knowledgeable witnesses in defense of document retention procedures.
The New Jersey Law Journal has named Gibbons P.C. the “General Litigation Department of the Year” for 2014, the top award presented in its second annual “Litigation Departments of the Year” awards program. The general litigation award recognized the firm’s litigation strength in several areas, including commercial litigation, products liability, employment, intellectual property, and media law. In 2013, the firm’s Business & Commercial Litigation Department was named the “Commercial Litigation Department of the Year” in the same awards program.
Recently, a Florida appellate court held that a former headmaster was not entitled to an $80,000 payment pursuant to a settlement agreement with his former employer, all thanks to his chats with his daughter about the settlement, and her subsequent Facebook post bragging about the settlement. Patrick Snay sued Gulliver Schools, Inc. for age discrimination and retaliation. Gulliver agreed to pay Snay, in part, $80,000 to settle all claims. The parties’ agreement contained a non-disclosure provision requiring the existence and terms of the settlement be kept confidential, and upon breach by Snay or his wife, the disgorgement of the $80,000 payment.