Effective January 1, 2013, the Delaware Court of Chancery Rules 26 (General provisions concerning discovery), 30 (Depositions upon oral examination), 34 (Production of documents) and 45 (Subpoenas) were amended, consistent with similar amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, to refer to discovery of “electronically stored information” (“ESI”) in addition to “documents” and “tangible things” and explain how parties are to respond to requests for ESI.
Tagged: Litigation Hold
In Haskins v. First American Title Insurance Co., the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey expanded the reach of a “litigation hold” to include independent agents of a title insurance company. The Court held that once litigation was reasonably anticipated, First American Title Insurance Company (“First American”) had a duty to instruct its independent insurance agents to preserve all potentially relevant documents and to suspend routine destruction of such documents. The ruling in Haskins gives important e-discovery guidance for many companies, as it clarifies that document preservation rules apply to independent agents in addition to a company’s in-house employees.
New Jersey District Judge Upholds Sanctions for Camden County’s Grossly Negligent Litigation Hold Procedures
On March 21, 2012, New Jersey District Judge Noel Hillman upheld Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio’s ruling against Camden County, New Jersey (the “County”) for spoliation of evidence in an insurance dispute arising out of injuries to a motorist on a county road. State National Insurance Co. v. County of Camden, 08-cv-5128 (D.N.J. March 21, 2012). Judge Hillman’s March 21, 2012, decision addresses the County’s appeal of a June 30, 2011, decision of Judge Donio granting State National Insurance Company’s (“State National”) motion regarding the County’s failure to preserve electronically stored information (“ESI”). Specifically, the County failed to institute a litigation hold, to disable its automatic email deletion program, and to preserve copies of its backup tapes after litigation was commenced.
In a recent decision out of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, a spoliator’s worst fears were recognized when the Court dismissed its entire Complaint as a sanction for failing to preserve electronic evidence. The decision, 915 Broadway Associates, LLC, v. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP, 2012 NY Slip. Op. 50285U (N.Y. Sup. February 16, 2012), is instructive in its clear statement and analysis of New York’s spoliation law and its demonstration of the Court’s willingness to impose the ultimate spoliation sanction where warranted.
New York’s Appellate Courts Surface on Litigation Hold – First Department Confirms Reasonable Anticipation of Litigation Requires Implementation of Litigation Hold
New York’s First Department Appellate Division is the first New York state appellate court to expressly adopt the “reasonable anticipation trigger” articulated in Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, 220 FRD 212 (S.D.N.Y. 2003): “Once a party reasonably anticipates litigation, it must suspend its routine document retention/destruction policy and put in place a ‘litigation hold’ to ensure the preservation of relevant documents.” Id. at 218. On January 31, 2012, the First Department affirmed the November 9, 2010 Order of the Honorable Richard B. Lowe III which awarded an adverse inference sanction to plaintiff, Voom HD Holdings LLC (“Voom”) against defendant EchoStar Satellite, L.L.C. (“EchoStar”). Voom H.D. Holdings LLC v. EchoStar Satellite LLC, 2012 N.Y. Slip Op. 00658 (1st Dep’t 2012). The First Department found the Zubulake standard to be “harmonious” with existing New York precedent in the traditional discovery context and “provides litigants with sufficient certainty as to the nature of their obligations in the electronic discovery context and when those obligations are triggered.”
Effective December 8, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware revised its Default Standard for Discovery, Including Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (“ESI”). This third version of the Revised Default Standards contains some new provisions that apply to the discovery of ESI absent agreement by the parties or court order. The Revised Default Standards also set a detailed schedule for the initial exchange of discovery in patent litigation, and reinforce the Court’s expectation of cooperation among the parties and proportionality in the preservation, identification and production of relevant information. Some of the highlights and practical points of the Revised Default Standards are as follows:
Southern District of New York Implements Pilot Program to Require Early Identification & Resolution of E-Discovery Issues in Complex Cases
The Judicial Improvements Committee of the Southern District of New York issued a report announcing the initiation of a Pilot Project Regarding Case Management Techniques for Complex Civil Cases (the “JIC Report”) in October 2011. The pilot project, which became effective on November 1, 2011, is designed to run for 18 months and for now, applies only to specific matters designated as “complex cases.” The project, which seeks to enhance the caliber of judicial case management, arose out of recommendations from the May 2010 Duke Conference on Civil Procedure and E-Discovery. This blog posting focuses on that portion of the pilot program devoted to the discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”).
The Fifth Annual Gibbons E-Discovery Conference Closes With Helpful Guidance on Drafting Records Management Policies
An effective and up-to-date set of records management policies may help companies reduce the likelihood of sanctions and other adverse consequences by ensuring records are retained and preserved in accordance with legal requirements, according to Gibbons Director Phillip Duffy; TechLaw Solutions’ Northeast Regional Director Michael Landau; and Inventus LLC Senior Consultant Bryan Melchionda.
The Fifth Annual Gibbons E-Discovery Conference Kicks Off with an Interactive and Thought-Provoking Overview of the Past Year’s Pivotal E-Discovery Case Decisions
The Fifth Annual Gibbons E-Discovery Conference kicked off with an interactive overview of the important judicial decisions from 2011 that shaped and redefined the e-discovery landscape. Before an audience of general and in-house counsel, representing companies throughout the tri-state area, the esteemed panel of speakers, including Michael R. Arkfeld, Paul E. Asfendis, and Mara E. Zazzali-Hogan, moderated by Scott J. Etish, tackled the issues faced by the courts over the past year. Through a series of hypotheticals, the panelists and attendees analyzed and discussed how to handle the tough e-discovery issues that arose and how the courts’ decisions again reshaped the e-discovery landscape as we know it. Litigation hold protocols and spoliation concerns, the use of social media in discovery with its attendant ethical concerns, and the use of social media and the Internet in the courtroom were the hot topics of the day. This interactive overview of the past year’s hot button, e-discovery issues was an instant success and clearly set the tone for the remainder of the conference.
The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Litigation Hold Notices: Deconstructing the Effective Litigation Hold Notice
The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of litigation hold notices were discussed at the Fifth Annual Gibbons E-Discovery Conference on November 3, 2011. The distinguished panel included the Honorable John J. Hughes, U.S.M.J. (Ret.), the Director and Chair of the firm’s E-Discovery Task Force Mark Sidoti, and Melissa DeHonney, an associate in the Gibbons Business & Commercial Litigation Department and member of the firm’s E-Discovery Task Force.