Welcome to the new eLessons Learned

eDiscovery Written by Law Students

eDiscovery Written by Law Students

eLessons Learned features insightful content authored primarily by law students from throughout the country. The posts are written to appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, including those with little eDiscovery knowledge.

Law + Technology + Human Error

Law + Technology + Human Error

Each blog post: (a) identifies cases that address technology mishaps; (b) exposes the specific conduct that caused a problem; (c) explains how and why the conduct was improper; and (d) offers suggestions on how to learn from these mistakes and prevent similar ones from reoccurring.

New to the eDiscovery world?

New to the eDiscovery world?

Visit our signature feature, e-Discovery Origins: Zubulake, designed to give readers a primer on the e-discovery movement through blog posts about the Zubulake series of court opinions which helped form the foundation for e-discovery. Go There

Contribute to eLessons Learned

Contribute to eLessons Learned

Interested students may apply for the opportunity to write for e-Lessons Learned by filling out the simple application. Go There

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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Default Judgment Granted, Monetary Sanctions Imposed Against Plaintiff Tech Company and Counsel for Misconduct

Plaintiff’s counsel tried to distance the company and themselves from their retained consultant in an unsuccessful attempt to escape sanctions for multiple instances of misconduct.  Illinois District Court Judge Coleman saw through counsel’s feeble attempts to use the consultant as a scapegoat and granted the defendant’s motion for default judgment and monetary sanctions.

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WARNING: E-mails with Attorney Transmitted in Violation of Employer ”No Personal Use” Policy will NOT be Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege or Work Product Privilege

In an employment contract dispute, the plaintiff employee-doctor made a motion for a protective order regarding all e-mail correspondence between the employee and his attorney pursuant to the attorney-client privilege, CPLR 4503, and the work product doctrine, CPLR 3101(c). The defendant employer-medical center made a motion for a protective order as to discovery concerning a governmental or regulatory investigation. The court ultimately granted defendant’s motion, but denied plaintiff’s motion because it found that he waived attorney-client privilege as well as the work product privilege. Given the facts of the case, and specifically the employer’s “no personal use” policy, this result was not surprising.

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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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Photogrammetry for the Win!… If you know what it does.

The Federal Rules of Evidence (“FRE”) are notorious for their complication. Hearsay Rules continue to astound attorneys across the country. Now, in a more modern era, we have the advanced electronics capable of aiding the evidentiary process in many ways. But with a jury of lay people, it is difficult to describe the use of such equipment during a trial without the use of an expert witness.

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Privileged Communications Have to Actually be Privileged to be Immune

The brief order by the First Department Appellate Division doesn’t delve into much background (or really any background at all) as to the facts of the present case, however, it does shed some light on discovery matters. The prior order had directed the plaintiff to turn over a certain e-mail as part of the discovery, and moved the deposition of the defendant to New York instead of Florida.

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Blocking Statutes Watch Out – U.S. Courts Coming Through…

Just because your adversary makes a request for documents that would violate German law, it doesn’t mean you are not required to do so. In AccessData Corp., the plaintiff made several discovery requests, including a request for a production of documents, which encompassed the production of third-party personal information. The defendant objected to the request for production on the grounds that they were overly broad, unduly burdensome, and seeking irrelevant information. Additionally, the defendant claimed that the “disclosure of information relating to third parties’ identities would violate German law.”

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Hath No Fury Like A Scorned Employer: Using Discovery As A Weapon

Lawyers love playing “the game”: the passive-aggressive chess match of paperwork requests and time-stall battles with the opposing attorney. At first glance, botched production can look like sloppy lawyering, but in reality it can be a brilliant move in disguise. In this case, Independent Marketing Group is suing for breach of fiduciary duties, breach of contract, and other claims that imply an ugly end to the defendants’ employment. The defendants, pursuant to discovery in the suit, request information from Independent, but in doing so, find themselves on the verge of checkmate.

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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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New York Court Adopts Federal Standard Regarding Initial Costs of ESI

In February 2012, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, held that the cost of finding of producing electronically stored information (ESI) is placed initially on the party producing the discovery request.  While this decision is consistent with New York’s longstanding rule that discovery requests are to be paid by the responding party, discovery in the context of ESI brings an added complication.

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