Admissibility Of Esi (Final1)


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This is the powerpoint presentation from my featured presentation, titled "Unique Issues Relating to the Admissibility of Electronically Stored Information in Family Law Matters", delivered at the statewide 7th Annual Family Law Institute.

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Admissibility Of Esi (Final1)

  2. 2. OVERVIEW: <ul><li>ESI = Electronically Stored Information </li></ul><ul><li>Common ESI:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E Mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Instant Messages  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stored Documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Word documents </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Excel Spreadsheets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Text Messages   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web Pages </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ It makes little sense to go to all the bother and expense to get ESI only to have it excluded from evidence because the proponent cannot lay a sufficient foundation to get it admitted.” </li></ul>Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm
  4. 4. Background: <ul><li>10 yrs ago, one court wrote the internet & ESI were “patently unreliable, inadmissible” and “voodoo” </li></ul><ul><li>Now, more than 90% : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>of all documents are produced & stored in computers and never printed; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>of all written communication is by e-mail </li></ul></ul><ul><li>ESI, of one kind or another, is part of every case </li></ul>
  5. 5. Admitting ESI -- Where do we start?? <ul><li>No Michigan cases dealing with the issue </li></ul><ul><li>Rules of Evidence are THE KEY </li></ul><ul><li>MRE & FRE are “analogous” </li></ul><ul><li>And, more and more Federal Cases </li></ul>801 902 1003 804 803 1001 401 901
  6. 6. Lorraine v. Markel American Ins. <ul><li>2007 seminal case </li></ul><ul><li>Insurance dispute, Plaintiff’s boat was hit by lightening </li></ul><ul><li>Arbitrator determined causation, but also reduced the damage award </li></ul><ul><li>Appeal from arbitration ruling </li></ul><ul><li>Issue – Did arbitrator exceed authority? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Lorraine v Markel <ul><li>Each party filed motion for summary </li></ul><ul><li>As exhibits, each attached emails discussing the insurance policy </li></ul><ul><li>Neither supplied any authentication or evidentiary foundation for their emails </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, they weren’t admissible such that the court could rely upon them </li></ul>
  9. 9. HOLDING : To admit ESI, you must overcome 4 evidentiary “hurdles”
  10. 10. <ul><li>MRE 401 = Relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 901 & 902 = Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 801 & 802 = Hearsay & Exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 1001 – 1008 = </li></ul><ul><li>Best Evidence Rule </li></ul>THE HURDLES
  11. 11. <ul><li>MRE 401 = Relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 901 & 902 = Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 801 & 802 = Hearsay & Exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 1001 – 1008 = </li></ul><ul><li>Best Evidence Rule </li></ul>THE HURDLES
  12. 12. #1—RELEVANCY, MRE 401 <ul><li>Usually the easiest hurdle to clear </li></ul><ul><li>Standard : Does the evidence have ‘ any tendency ’ to prove or disprove a consequential fact? </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence that is not relevant is never admissible </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>MRE 401 = Relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 901 & 902 = Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 801 & 802 = Hearsay & Exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 1001 – 1008 = </li></ul><ul><li>Best Evidence Rule </li></ul>THE HURDLES
  15. 15. #2—AUTHENTICITY, MRE 901 & 902 <ul><li>Purpose -- Insure that evidence is trustworthy </li></ul><ul><li>Issue -- Is the matter in question what its proponent claims it is? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Authenticity is a greater issue than w/ “traditional” evidence b/c ESI is so dynamic and can be altered so many ways : <ul><ul><li>Unscrupulous behavior </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Damage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contamination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improper search and retrieval techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Programming errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment malfunction </li></ul></ul>
  18. 19. THE RULES: MRE 901 & MRE 902 <ul><li>Rule 901(a) - sets forth the requirement to authenticate, but is silent on how to do so </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 901(b) – provides list of ways to authenticate using extrinsic evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 902 - methods of self-authentication, i.e. w/o using extrinsic evidence </li></ul>
  19. 20. REMEMBER: <ul><li>When “laying a foundation” courts are not bound by the Rules of Evidence (MRE 104) </li></ul><ul><li>Court can consider inadmissible evidence such as hearsay </li></ul>
  20. 21. 901(b)--2 Most Common Ways to Authenticate Using Extrinsic Evidence: <ul><li>(b)(1)-Testimony of Witness with Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>(b)(4)-Circumstantial Evidence </li></ul>
  21. 22. <ul><li>“ Knowledge” should include how the item was c reated, obtained, and preserved </li></ul><ul><li>This may come from participating in or observing the event (personal knowledge) </li></ul><ul><li>Or, knowledge of how the type of evidence is routinely made </li></ul>Testimony of Witness with Knowledge
  22. 23. People v Howard, 226 Mich App 528 (1997): <ul><li>Issue : Authentication of a page from the Victim’s appointment book in a murder case </li></ul><ul><li>Holding : COA upheld the authentication of this document using victim’s son testimony based on his personal knowledge and familiarity with the victim </li></ul>
  23. 24. Translating Howard to a Family Law Hypothetical: <ul><li>ESI – Husband’s Excel records </li></ul><ul><li>Issue – Is there a witness who can authenticate? </li></ul><ul><li>1 st Witness with knowledge – Wife </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd Witness with knowledge - Expert </li></ul>
  24. 25. <ul><li>WIFE’S TESTIMONY </li></ul><ul><li>Husband used Excel </li></ul><ul><li>Saw him work with Excel </li></ul><ul><li>Discussed Excel w/ him </li></ul><ul><li>No one else uses the program </li></ul><ul><li>Familiar with the unique items listed in the spreadsheet itself </li></ul><ul><li>EXPERT’S TESTIMONY </li></ul><ul><li>How copy was obtained </li></ul><ul><li>No alterations to it since obtained </li></ul>
  25. 26. 901(b)(4)-Circumstantial Evidence <ul><li>Very useful with authentication of email </li></ul><ul><li>Permits authentication by “appearance, contents, substance, internal patterns or other distinctive characteristics , taken in conjunction with circumstances” </li></ul><ul><li>Content of the email itself may help authenticate it </li></ul>
  26. 27. Circumstantial Evidence / “Distinctive Characteristics” may include: <ul><li>The sender’s email address </li></ul><ul><li>The recipient’s use of the reply function </li></ul><ul><li>Details w/in the email known uniquely by the sender </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata such as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How, when and by whom the message was created, accessed or modified </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The date, time, identity of the creator, &/or changes made to it. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 28. 901(b)(9)--Evidence produced from an accurate process or system <ul><li>Traditionally, this rule is used with x-rays, recordings, police radar and blood sample analysis </li></ul>
  28. 29. MRE 902--SELF AUTHENTICATION: <ul><li>Rule 902 provides several ways to authenticate without extrinsic evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Two stand out as most applicable to the authentication of electronic evidence </li></ul>
  29. 30. MRE 902(7): Inscriptions, signs, tags or labels <ul><li>Provides for self-authentication when there are “ inscriptions, signs, tags or labels purporting to have been affixed in the course of business and indicating ownership, control or origin ”. </li></ul><ul><li>Query -- Will this rule apply to emails with signature blocks that include a sender’s name, address, company, phone and email? </li></ul>
  30. 31. MRE 902(7): Inscriptions, signs, tags or labels <ul><li>PRO -- One commentator says YES, signature blocks alone are sufficient under this 902(7), because they are “affixed” “in the course of business” </li></ul><ul><li>CON -- Another commentator says NO, signature blocks can be too easily “cut & pasted”, noting the justification for this rule was “the very slight risk of forgery of items due to the difficulty of reproduction…and the protection against copyright and the like given by the law” </li></ul>
  31. 32. Rule 902(11): Certified Records of Regularly Conducted Business Activity <ul><li>Self-authentication for 803(6) business records IF accompanied by written certification by its custodian or another qualified person </li></ul><ul><li>The rule dovetails with 803(6), thus killing two birds with one stone </li></ul>
  32. 33. Rule 902(11) <ul><li>Courts are becoming more stringent with the foundation requirement under this rule as they gain a better understanding of ESI’s complexity and how dynamic it can be </li></ul><ul><li>One court has adopted a 11-step foundation requirement </li></ul>
  33. 34. Other Methods of Authentication <ul><li>Requests to Admit the Genuineness of an Item pursuant to MCR 2.312 </li></ul><ul><li>Requests for a pretrial conference to “consider the possibility of obtaining admissions of documents to avoid unnecessary proof” pursuant MCR 2.400(C)(1)(d) </li></ul><ul><li>Requests for stipulations to authenticity </li></ul>
  34. 35. <ul><li>MRE 401 = Relevancy </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 901 & 902 = Authentication </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 801 & 802 = Hearsay & Exceptions </li></ul><ul><li>MRE 1001 – 1008 = </li></ul><ul><li>Best Evidence Rule </li></ul>THE HURDLES
  35. 36. HEARSAY <ul><li>“ Hearsay” is a statement , other than by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted </li></ul>
  36. 37. In Order to be hearsay, there must be a: <ul><li>“STATEMENT” = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) an oral or written assertion, or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(2) non-verbal conduct of a person, if intended as an assertion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“DECLARANT” must be a person. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  37. 38. <ul><li>IF THERE ISN’T A DECLARANT </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>IF IT ISN’T A STATEMENT </li></ul><ul><li>THEN IT ISN’T HEARSAY ! </li></ul>
  38. 39. A lot of ESI will not be hearsay <ul><li>Much ESI is entirely computer generated or the product of a computerized process. </li></ul><ul><li>So, there’s no person & no statement </li></ul><ul><li>So, it won’t be hearsay </li></ul>
  39. 40. A lot of ESI will not be hearsay <ul><li>U.S. v Khorozian , 333 F3D 498 (3D Cir. 2003), Court found that the info automatically generated by a fax machine is not hearsay because “nothing ‘said’ by a machine is hearsay”. </li></ul><ul><li>State v Dunn, 7 SW3d 427 (Mo. Ct. App. 2000), COA held that “Computer generated phone records are not a statement by a human and are not hearsay” </li></ul><ul><li>By analogy, “system metadata” is not hearsay </li></ul>
  40. 41. System Metadata isn’t Hearsay <ul><li>This would include a file’s location & format plus the dates it was created, modified and accessed </li></ul><ul><li>It is generated without human assistance or input </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, no “person” is involved & no “statement” made </li></ul>
  41. 42. NOT HEARSAY IF NOT OFFERED TO PROVE THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER <ul><li>Many times, the “truth” of the assertion in the ESI is immaterial to the proponent </li></ul><ul><li>Particularly true with emails </li></ul><ul><li>If the ESI is offered to prove something other than the truth of the matter, than it’s not hearsay </li></ul>
  42. 43. EXAMPLES OF TRUTH BEING IMMATERIAL <ul><li>Statements proving that a relationship exists between the parties to the communication are not hearsay. See U.S. v Siddiqui </li></ul><ul><li>Statements offered to show: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Declarant’s state of mind </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Declarant’s motive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The effect on recipient </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Non-verbal acts that aren’t assertive conduct (i.e. videos or photos found on a computer) </li></ul>
  43. 44. OTHER TYPES OF NON HEARSAY <ul><li>Prior Inconsistent Statements </li></ul><ul><li>Prior Consistent Statements Offered to Rebut Charges of Recent Fabrication or Improper Motive </li></ul><ul><li>Admissions by a Party-Opponent </li></ul>
  44. 45. EXCEPTIONS TO HEARSAY RULE: MRE 803, 804 & 807 <ul><li>Those that most commonly apply to ESI are: </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 803(1): Present Sense Impressions </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 803(2): Excited Utterances </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 803(3): Then Existing Mental, Emotional or Physical Conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 803(5): Recorded Recollections </li></ul><ul><li>Rule 803(6): Records of Regularly Conducted Business Activity </li></ul>
  45. 46. CASE STUDY
  46. 47. CASE STUDY
  47. 48. THE CASE <ul><li>PROPONENT SEEKS ADMISSION OF TEXT MSGS THEY CLAIM ARE FROM DEFENDANT KILPATRICK OR BEATTY </li></ul><ul><li>DEFENDANTS OBJECT THAT THEY CAN’T BE AUTHENTICATED, i.e. No proof they were actually typed by Kilpatrick or Beatty </li></ul>
  49. 50. THE EVIDENCE:
  50. 53. THE ESI <ul><li>HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF TEXT </li></ul><ul><li>MESSAGES BETWEEN </li></ul><ul><li>KILPATRICK AND BEATTY </li></ul>
  51. 54. Exibit A: TEXT FROM BEATTY: <ul><li>Date: 9/15/2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Time: 1:21 a.m. </li></ul><ul><li>Sender: CB’s address </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient: KK’s address </li></ul><ul><li>Text’s message: “ We are at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Hit me when you guys are leaving ” </li></ul><ul><li>Text is a “Reply to Sender” from previous KK text of 1 min before </li></ul>
  52. 55. Exhibit B: This text, 90 min later: <ul><li>Date: 9/15/2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Time: 2:46 a.m. </li></ul><ul><li>Sender’s Address: CB </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient’s Address: KK </li></ul><ul><li>Text from KK to CB: “ I GOT SOMETHING FOR YOU ” </li></ul><ul><li>Reply text from CB to KK: “ LOL. Is that so? I’m in your room. Are you in route? What do you have for me? ” </li></ul>
  53. 56. THE HURDLE : CAN WE AUTHENTICATE THE TEXTS UNDER 901 OR 902? <ul><li>Can we authenticate under Rule 902 without extrinsic evidence? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we authenticate under 901(b) using extrinsic evidence? </li></ul>
  54. 57. 902 - AUTHENTICATION WITHOUT EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE: <ul><li>Are there business records with a written certification by its custodian that will authenticate (MRE 902(11))? </li></ul>
  55. 58. 902(11) --CERTIFIED BUSINESS RECORDS <ul><li>Custodian=Stephen Oshinsky </li></ul><ul><li>Employee at Skytel for 16+ years </li></ul><ul><li>Project Manager, Systems Designer, Custodian of the Text Log Files and Director of Systems Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>In 1993, he designed the system software used by Skytel to process text messages </li></ul><ul><li>Personal knowledge of the Skytel system </li></ul><ul><li>Personal knowledge re: the transmission, storage & retrieval of text messages </li></ul>
  56. 59. 902(11) --CERTIFIED BUSINESS RECORDS <ul><li>SkyTel has business records including text logs, ownership and account records, etc. and Mr. Oshinsky is eminently qualified to certify them under 902(11) </li></ul>
  57. 60. 901(b) --IS THERE EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE THAT CAN BE USED TO AUTHENTICATE: <ul><li>Look at the content of the text messages themselves that proponent wants to admit (i.e. what do the texts say, can that be helpful?) </li></ul><ul><li>Look at the content of the hundreds of other texts sent, received or responded to w/in the same time frame as the text messages at issue, whether between CB & KK or to/from others </li></ul><ul><li>Other external facts and circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>The hardware device used and facts relating to it </li></ul><ul><li>“ Metadata” </li></ul>
  58. 61. Champion v Champion 368 Mich 84 (1962) <ul><li>In a divorce case, the Supremes upheld a trial court’s reliance on the content of a letter to determine authenticity. </li></ul><ul><li>The Court held that indirect or circumstantial evidence may be used to determine authenticity. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The contents of the letter….indicate it was genuine. A sufficient foundation has been laid for its receipt in evidence.” </li></ul>
  59. 62. LET’S AGAIN REVIEW THE TEXT FROM BEATTY: <ul><li>Date: 9/15/2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Time: 1:21 a.m. </li></ul><ul><li>Sender: CB’s address </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient: KK’s address </li></ul><ul><li>Text’s message: “ We are at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Hit me when you guys are leaving ” </li></ul><ul><li>Text is a “Reply to Sender” from previous KK text of 1 min before </li></ul>
  60. 63. ...AND THE OTHER BTWN KK & CB A LITTLE LATER <ul><li>Date: 9/15/2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Time: 2:46 a.m. </li></ul><ul><li>Sender’s Address: CB </li></ul><ul><li>Recipient’s Address: KK </li></ul><ul><li>KK to CB: “I GOT SOMETHING FOR YOU” </li></ul><ul><li>Reply from CB to KK: “ LOL. Is that so? I’m in your room. Are you in route? What do you have for me? ” </li></ul>
  61. 64. Authenticating facts: <ul><li>Ben’s Chili Bowl is a landmark in Wash D.C. </li></ul><ul><li>3P’s are available to testify they had dinner with CB at Ben’s Chili Bowl on the date & time in question </li></ul><ul><li>And, credit card records may show CB there on that date & time </li></ul><ul><li>And, Kilpatrick’s official calendar shows him in D.C. on that date </li></ul><ul><li>And, there is an expense report filed by KK for the time period in question </li></ul>
  62. 65. Other Authenticating Facts: <ul><li>One pager “belongs” to KK and the other pager “belongs” to CB </li></ul><ul><li>Neither ever reported “their” pager stolen or missing </li></ul><ul><li>Both KK & CB used their pager before and after the texts at issue to conduct official business or about private matters or unique facts </li></ul>
  63. 66. Also, other texts will help authenticate the ones at issue: <ul><li>CB & KK each used their own pager to text a staffer & offer congratulations on the birth of a son </li></ul><ul><li>KK texted another staffer congratulating him on his wedding anniversary </li></ul><ul><li>KK then texted that same staffer about a shooting in the city </li></ul><ul><li>That staffer, himself, texted back & forth with KK & CB about damage done to the Joe Louis monument </li></ul><ul><li>Testimony from that staffer can authenticate his texts </li></ul><ul><li>Media coverage of the shooting & monument damage offers further corroboration </li></ul>
  64. 67. CONCLUSION : Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty and Resigns
  65. 68. THANK YOU & GOOD LUCK!!