Monica Crocker & Cathy Beil eDiscovery In The Real World


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Monica Crocker, CRM, PMP and Cathy Beil, ERM, provide information on how to be prepared for and respond to electronic discovery requests. Guidelines presented can be implemented even if your organization is underfunded and under-resourced. This highly rated presentation was delivered to the Minnesota Government IT Symposium in January of 2010.

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  • Cathy Recent ESI Court Decisions Court Sanctions In-House Counsel for Failure to Issue a Litigation Hold and Ensure Preservation Swofford v. Eslinger, 2009 WL 3818593 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 28, 2009). In this section 1983 claim asserting excessive force, the plaintiffs sought sanctions, alleging the defendants destroyed key evidence, including a laptop and e-mails. Despite receiving preservation notices from the plaintiffs, the defendants' in-house counsel only forwarded a copy of the letters to senior-level employees (who did not ensure other employees complied with the defendants' preservation obligations) and failed to issue a litigation hold. Citing Zubulake V, the court found that it is insufficient for in-house counsel to simply notify employees of preservation notices, but rather counsel "must take affirmative steps to monitor compliance" to ensure preservation. Finding sanctions appropriate for the preservation failures, the court issued an adverse inference sanction for the laptop wiping and deletion of e-mails. The court also awarded attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiffs, holding the defendants and in-house counsel jointly and severally liable. *** Court Awards Attorneys' Fees and Costs Citing Party's Failure to Issue a Proper Litigation Hold Tango Transp., LLC v. Transp. Int'l Pool, Inc., 2009 WL 3254882 (W.D. La. Oct. 8, 2009). In this contract dispute, the defendant sought monetary and adverse inference sanctions alleging that after months of repeated requests for e-mail documents, the plaintiff failed to ask employees to locate, preserve or produce e-mail documentation. The plaintiff placed a litigation hold on e-mail accounts of some custodians; however, in-house counsel for the plaintiff admitted a litigation hold was not placed on three key players until six months after the request. Citing the plaintiff's failure to issue litigation holds, the court determined sanctions were appropriate and awarded the defendant almost $13,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to serve as a deterrent against the plaintiff's future commission of similar discovery abuses. However, because the defendant failed to demonstrate the destroyed e-mails would have supported its case, the court denied the adverse inference request.
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  • Cathy The basis/core of everything, you do this all the time: Information Management Getting your electronic house in order to mitigate risk & expenses should electronic discovery become an issue, from initial creation of electronically stored information through its final disposition. When cases come up: Identification Locating potential sources of ESI & determining its scope, breadth & depth. Preservation Ensuring that ESI is protected against inappropriate alteration or destruction. Collection Gathering ESI for further use in the electronic discovery process (processing, review, etc.). Processing Reducing the volume of ESI and converting it, if necessary, to forms more suitable for review & analysis. Review Evaluating ESI for relevance & privilege. Analysis Evaluating ESI for content & context, including key patterns, topics, people & discussion. Also part of the process, but we won’t discuss at length: Production Delivering ESI to others in appropriate forms & using appropriate delivery mechanisms. Presentation Displaying ESI before audiences (at depositions, hearings, trials, etc.), especially in native & near-native forms, to attempt to persuade or elicit further information.
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  • Monica In-house or outsource decision becomes important here, cost savings…
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  • Monica Need to track whether people have read/responded to LH notices!
  • Monica Don’t mix business and personal! Even kids’ soccer team photos!
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  • Cathy In government, agencies and central partners (OET, AGO) could work together to standardize and improve service while achieving cost savings through economies of scale
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  • Monica Crocker & Cathy Beil eDiscovery In The Real World

    1. 1. eDiscovery in the Real World: Best Practices For Imperfect and Under-funded Organizations Minnesota Government IT Symposium December 10, 2009 Session #77
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>A real-world example </li></ul><ul><li>EDRM phases </li></ul><ul><li>Best practices – Real World – Bridging the Gap </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>The Future </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    3. 3. About Us <ul><li>Cathy Beil </li></ul><ul><li>Records Manager at MN DHS </li></ul><ul><li>MLIS </li></ul><ul><li>2010 MN-GRIN Chair </li></ul><ul><li>Monica Crocker </li></ul><ul><li>ECM Consultant, Genus Technologies </li></ul><ul><li>MN AIIM Board Member </li></ul><ul><li>CRM, PMP </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    4. 4. Facts and Figures <ul><li>Email is the leading piece of evidence requested at civil trials </li></ul><ul><li>Companies have been fined millions for non-compliance with holds and discovery requests – and government is not exempt! </li></ul><ul><li>The average knowledge worker generates 25,000 emails/year (AIIM) </li></ul><ul><li>1GB of data costs approximately $20,000 to harvest, process, review, and produce (CGOC) </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    5. 5. Climate <ul><li>“ This past year highlighted a major trend in cases concerning issues involving the exchange of electronically stored data: an increase in judicial unwillingness to display compassion or tolerance for negligent e-discovery blunders.” ( Kroll Ontrack Case Law Update & E-Discovery News January 2009 v. 9 Issue 1) </li></ul><ul><li>“ NightOwl Inc., which handles paper and electronic discovery for law firms and companies engaged in litigation, has seen its electronic-storage business increase 600 percent over the past two years.” ( MSP Business Journal , March 27, 2009) </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    6. 6. A Real World Example… <ul><li>Multi-million dollar multi-year contract cancelled, lawsuit/s ensued </li></ul><ul><li>Hundreds of staff had contact with the project </li></ul><ul><li>Millions of responsive electronic documents and emails </li></ul><ul><li>Plus all the software code </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    7. 7. A Real World Example… <ul><li>No Records Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation Hold implemented via email </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying custodians was challenging </li></ul><ul><li>Collection instigated by disaster – flooding </li></ul><ul><li>Largest hold and collection DHS has ever implemented </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    8. 8. A Real World Example… <ul><li>Collection via Outlook mailbox folders, network drive folders, a secure server </li></ul><ul><li>Parties agreed to small group of core custodians </li></ul><ul><li>Vendor contracted to scan paper for core custodians (116,000+ pages) </li></ul><ul><li>Initial relevance review using hosted service </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    9. 9. Discovery Process Steps <ul><li>Triggering Event (anticipated or filed) </li></ul><ul><li>Freak out </li></ul><ul><li>Identify responsive data </li></ul><ul><li>Freak out </li></ul><ul><li>Place litigation hold on responsive data </li></ul><ul><li>Freak out </li></ul><ul><li>Collect responsive data </li></ul><ul><li>Freak out </li></ul><ul><li>Process and review responsive data </li></ul><ul><li>Freak out </li></ul><ul><li>Produce responsive data </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    10. 10. December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    11. 11. EDRM Phase: Information Mgmt <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Records management policies in place </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation response procedures in place </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate duplication </li></ul><ul><li>Backups used for disaster recovery only </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>What’s records management? </li></ul><ul><li>No SOP for litigation response </li></ul><ul><li>Many copies stored in many different places </li></ul><ul><li>Records regularly recovered from backups </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    12. 12. EDRM Phase: Information Mgmt <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Technology solutions in place that support RM policies </li></ul><ul><li>Training and audits to ensure compliance with policies & procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Legal, IT, and RM understand each other’s work and act as partners </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>RM policies not automated or supported by technology </li></ul><ul><li>RM policies exist…but no one knows about or follows them </li></ul><ul><li>Legal, IT, and RM don’t know each other or how to work together </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    13. 13. EDRM Phase: Information Mgmt <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive data map in place </li></ul><ul><li>Policies and procedures regularly reviewed and updated </li></ul><ul><li>Policies regarding content ownership clearly defined </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>No way to know where responsive data might be </li></ul><ul><li>Retention schedules exist, but aren’t followed or up to date </li></ul><ul><li>Staff feel they own the content they create or store </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    14. 14. EDRM Phase: Identification <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Taxonomy and metadata in place </li></ul><ul><li>A place for everything and everything in its place </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>No standard naming conventions or categorization </li></ul><ul><li>No standard storage structure </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    15. 15. EDRM Phase: Identification <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Clear content ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Records management policies are a starting point for findability </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Unclear responsibility for content </li></ul><ul><li>No connection between RM policies and content organization </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    16. 16. EDRM Phase: Preservation <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Activate established hold procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Hold in place </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate storage media; migrate if necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Identification problems lead to patchy hold notification </li></ul><ul><li>Data held but can’t be retrieved </li></ul><ul><li>Might have to collect just to ensure preservation </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    17. 17. EDRM Phase: Preservation <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate file formats – don’t degrade! </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure adequate security </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain audit trail and chain of custody </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Efforts to preserve degrade metadata (e.g.. Office formats to PDF or paper) </li></ul><ul><li>Access to responsive data not controlled; can’t prove it wasn’t changed </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    18. 18. EDRM Phase: Collection <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Activate established collection procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage enterprise tools </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate with processing and production tools </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Have to recreate / re-determine collection process each time </li></ul><ul><li>Buy tools that might have been unnecessary with better RM infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Hasty = Wasty </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    19. 19. EDRM Phase: Collection <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Isolate collected data from active data </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Data ownership communicated and understood </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a collection area within active systems – collected data unsecured </li></ul><ul><li>Custodian obliviousness </li></ul><ul><li>Unprepared to deal with ownership conflicts </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    20. 20. EDRM Phase: Processing <ul><li>Best Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Utilize automated tools (OCR) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify active vs. inactive content </li></ul><ul><li>Seamless integration </li></ul><ul><li>IT and Legal determine details together </li></ul><ul><li>Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Overspend on manual processing time </li></ul><ul><li>Process inactive content without determining if it’s necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Each repository has to be addressed separately </li></ul><ul><li>Legal doesn’t understand the technology, IT doesn’t understand Legal’s needs </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    21. 21. EDRM Phases: Review, Analysis, Production, Presentation <ul><li>We’re not lawyers—talk to them about techniques </li></ul><ul><li>Know when to use in-house vs. outsourced services </li></ul><ul><li>Good tools available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Add-ons to ECM solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stand-alone solutions </li></ul></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    22. 22. Bridging the Gap December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    23. 23. Bridging the Gap <ul><li>Start learning about RM – make it someone’s responsibility – then implement policies, procedures, and audit compliance as you can </li></ul><ul><li>Legal, IT, and RM need to talk! </li></ul><ul><li>Build data map as cases come up </li></ul><ul><li>Educate staff – they’ll generate helpful ideas and projects </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    24. 24. Bridging the Gap – Cont. <ul><li>Develop SOPs for identification of custodians and responsive data </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a Litigation Response Team </li></ul><ul><li>Do an initial data survey/inventory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritize </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work through it in Phases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Clarify who is responsible for content and attach ownership information to the content </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    25. 25. Bridging the Gap – Cont. <ul><li>Establish SOP for litigation holds ASAP </li></ul><ul><li>Include documentation that SOP were followed </li></ul><ul><li>Learn about data spoliation and degradation and prevent it! </li></ul><ul><li>Track preserve actions – even if it’s not perfect! </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    26. 26. Bridging the Gap – Cont. <ul><li>Standardize (and document!) processes </li></ul><ul><li>Remind staff that you own the content they create and store on your systems </li></ul><ul><li>Regulate external storage – email, USB drives, PDAs, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>De-clutter </li></ul><ul><li>Explore enterprise search tools </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    27. 27. Lessons Learned in the Real World… <ul><li>Being proactive is best, but every case will involve some reactivity </li></ul><ul><li>No organization is perfect – learn/standardize as you go! </li></ul><ul><li>Document, document, document </li></ul><ul><li>Hey IT, Legal, and RM: educate each other! </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    28. 28. Hidden Benefits (yes, really) <ul><li>eDiscovery efforts can dovetail or support other efforts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disaster Recovery Planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HIPAA Compliance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Practices Compliance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Data Requests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records Management policies, esp. retention </li></ul></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    29. 29. Hidden Benefits, cont. <ul><li>A Data Mapping Exercise might actually reduce costs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For storage/system support/maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By revealing existing data that can be used to make processes more efficient </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good excuse to instigate collaboration between IT, Legal, Compliance & Business </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    30. 30. The Future… <ul><li>Hosted services provide opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Agency resources for discovery response are limited (RM, IT, Legal) </li></ul><ul><li>Experience is the best teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Staying current with best practices and case law is a full time job </li></ul><ul><li>Shared service model could provide benefits </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    31. 31. Resources <ul><li>Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) </li></ul><ul><li>Sedona eDiscovery Principles </li></ul><ul><li>ARMA </li></ul><ul><li>AIIM </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance, Governance, and Oversight Council (CGOC) </li></ul><ul><li>Mimosa’s eDiscovery Resource Center </li></ul><ul><li>Fios’ Discovery Resources </li></ul><ul><li>K&L Gates </li></ul><ul><li>Kroll Ontrack </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
    32. 32. Thank you! <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>December 10, 2009 eDiscovery in the Real World
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