Court Rules In Favor for Precision in Regards to Limited Search Terms Used for Screening Privileged Documents

Whoever thinks that the legal world does not involve math is proven wrong through the Special Master’s analysis in Dornoch Holdings Int’l, LLC v. Conagra Foods, Lamb Weston, Inc. The heart of the opinion involves a percentage breakdown of search terms and their correlation of precision in regard to privileged documents. In Dornoch, the defendants objected to the privilege log of documents for three reasons: 1) the documents on the privilege log, except for communications between the plaintiffs and their outside litigation counsel dated after March 22, 2010, have not been established by the plaintiffs to be privileged; 2) The privilege log was created using overly broad search terms and has not been substantively reviewed, thus, the log contains numerous non-privileged documents; and 3) Non-correspondence documents listed on the privilege log are not privileged. In response to this objection, the court allowed the Special Master to make a recommendation on these objections, specifically allowing the Special Master to review “a statistically significant number of randomly selected documents to confirm the accuracy of the screening method.” The privilege documents log was assembled using search terms created and limited by plaintiff’s counsels and an eDiscovery technology consulting firm. And so, the Special Master did as the Court requested and took a sampling from the log to determine the effectiveness of the screen’s search terms. The consulting firm determined that “1,740 documents would need to be human reviewed” to determine whether the log was effectively precise. The Special Master decided to review 1,813 documents just to ensure it was an effective review. After explaining that Idaho law regarding attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine apply, the Special Master reviewed the documents and determined that 1,249 were not privileged documents and 564 were privileged. The Special Master also went into much detail about the effectiveness of the specific search terms that were used. Specifically, the Special Master determined that 73 percent of the search terms were highly correlated to actual privileged documents. Additionally, the Special Master determined that “those terms which identified a correlation with actual privilege of 59 percent or greater, showed a strong correlation with privilege.” Once the Special Master completed this analysis, the Special Master recommended that the documents that fall below that 59 percent correlation should be released and not kept private. Then, the plaintiffs could also decide to conduct another review of the remaining privileged documents to figure out if more should be released. Finally, the Special Master noted that it does not matter whether documents are listed as “correspondence” or “non-correspondence” for them to be determined to be privilege or not. These documents should be reviewed just as the others. Overall, the Special Master recommended that the court sustain the first objection, and overrule the third objection. As to the second objection, the court recommended the following: “(1) Concur with the selection of a 59% or greater correlation of search term precision for a document to remain withheld as privileged; (2) Allow Defendants the opportunity to further challenge the assertion of privilege above that 59% threshold, if they so choose, by requesting that the Special Master conduct a further targeted review for privilege and release any non-privileged documents discovered. The Defendants will be responsible for cost of this further analysis, if requested; (3) Release the documents associated with the less precise terms that fall beneath the 59% correlation threshold and remove them from the privilege log; (4) Prior to that release, allow Plaintiffs the opportunity to conduct a privilege review of all or a portion of the population to be released and create a supplemental privilege log. The Plaintiffs will be responsible for cost of this further analysis, if Plaintiffs chose to conduct it.”

The Stored Communications Act Protects Public Posts to Social Media Sites

The case arose from an oral licensing agreement between artist Buckley Crispin, Plaintiff, and Christian Audigier and companies (famously associated with the clothing line Ed Hardy), Defendants. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant violated the terms of an oral license by failing to put Plaintiff’s logo on his artwork and by using his artwork on items that were outside the scope of the license. Defendants served subpoenas duces tecum on four third-party websites including Facebook, Myspace, Black Market Art Company, and Media Temple seeking Plaintiff’s communications, sales information and basic subscriber information. The magistrate judge, below, denied Plaintiff’s motion to quash the subpoenas.

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When deactivating your Facebook account becomes the intentional destruction of evidence

Deactivating your Facebook account and passively allowing it to be permanently deleted can be considered the intentional destruction of evidence. The Plaintiff in Gatto is now facing a potentially damaging adverse jury instruction if he takes his case to trial. In Gatto, a ground operations supervisor at JFK Airport was injured in his course of employment when one of the United Airline’s planes bumped into a set of fueler stairs, causing them to run into the plaintiff. In his suit, Plaintiff alleges that due to the crash he has suffered various serious injuries, is permanently disabled, hasn’t been able to work since July of 2008, and his physical and social activities have been limited. Defendants sought access to Plantiff’s Facebook account in relation to these claims.

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Is What You Post On Facebook Discoverable? The Answer Is… Maybe.

We often hear that we should be careful about what we post on the internet.  But no matter how many times we hear this good advice, it seems like we have all posted something on the internet that we later regret.  Unfortunately, the internet is not a forgiving place.  And these unwanted internet posts can haunt an individual and result in serious consequences.

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Discovery of Social Media: The Plaintiff Responds and Produces

Defendants in an automobile accident case sought discovery of Plaintiff’s facebook and myspace (i.e., social media) account information. Plaintiff was seeking damages based upon the physical limitations caused by the injuries sustained in the accident and for psychological damages caused by his newfound anxiety to travel and traffic as well as depression. Plaintiff conceded that the “public information,” or information available to all users/nonusers or friends/nonfriends should be discoverable pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26 provided it was relevant. The Offenback Court conducted an in camera review of Plaintiff’s facebook page to determine the relevancy and discoverability of the material.[1]

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If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again—Court Protects Identities of Internet Users But Allows Re-filing of Expedited Discovery Request

Many individuals believe that matters pertaining to the United States Presidential Election are paramount to all other considerations. This, however, is not always the case and even those who create problems for campaign committees from behind the guise of internet anonymity are entitled to equal rights under the judicial system. Ex parte applications for expedited discovery are no exception according to the recent ruling in Ron Paul 2012 Pres. Campaign Comm., Inc. v. John Does, 1–10 because courts have a set list of criteria to consider when assessing the existence of “good cause” for expedited discovery to identify internet users.

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Panetta Warns of “Cyber-Pearl Harbor” in Speech to Business Executives for National Security (BENS)

In a speech to the Business Executives for National Security (BENS) on Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta illustrated the increasing likelihood of a possible "cyber-Pearl Harbor," and identified China, Russia, Iran, and militant groups as having increased their aggressiveness and technological advances in the context of cyber warfare.

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A New Wave of ”Megan’s Law” Legislation: Internet Sex Offender Registries

New Jersey is among the thirty-one states to adopt a sex offender Internet registry web sites as part of “Megan’s Law” legislation. In 2000, New Jersey implemented new legislation regarding sex offenders. In A.A. v. State of N.J., convicted sex offenders challenged constitutionality of Article IV, Section 7, Paragraph 12 of the New Jersey Constitution, a state constitutional amendment which authorizes the creation of an Internet sex offender registry (“Registry”), and an amendment to “Megan’s Law” known as the Internet Registry Act, which seeks to implement the Registry and would allow unlimited public access to certain information. The Third Circuit, however, denied the registrants’ motions for preliminary injunctions and held that the state could implement such a registry.

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$29.99 vs. $10,000 (and fees): Maximum Statutory Penalties Imposed to Deter Illegal Access to Satellite Television

DirecTV has had a tough time over the years, from battling cable television providers to continually attempting to “one-up” rival satellite television provider DISH Network.  While online streaming of television shows and movies has presented new challenges to television service providers, DirecTV has stayed afloat.  One group, however, has persistently caused headaches for broadcast satellite service providers over the years:  those who refuse to pay a penny of the $29.99 per month for DirecTV.  This group of individuals has resorted to numerous illegal means to get free access to television, including the purchase of transmission interceptor devices.  In the case of DirecTV v. Hermann, the Honorable Dennis M. Cavanaugh of the District Court for the District of New Jersey finally said “enough” and sent a message that costs much more than $29.99 per month.

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Plaintiff Is Not a Pirate: Joint Venture Company Downloads Files from Defendant’s Server After Dissolution

In Joseph Oats Holdings, Inc. v. RCM Digesters, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated a District Court decision which held that plaintiffs had wrongfully copied defendants electronic information in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. The dispute stemmed from a joint venture agreement between the parties which was repudiated by defendants shortly after its inception. In September 2006, the plaintiffs commenced an action alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, breach of contract, etc. In October 2006, plaintiffs attorney sent a litigation hold letter to defendants, demanding the preservation of (among others) electronic documents related to the litigation.

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