Consumer review website Pissed Consumer posted on its blog the results of an investigation that, it says, suggest that attorneys in California are filing suspicious defamation lawsuits in an attempt to help their clients remove unfavorable reviews from major search engines.
Once upon a time, long ago but not too far away, there was a law firm associate who was working up a case for a senior trial partner with the hope of delivering a well-prepared pre-trial and trial plan.
The associate proudly presented all the miscellaneous supporting legal authorities and the various favorable facts. But what was the senior trial partner’s response? “Stop!”
Once upon a time, it was widely believed that electronic discovery would streamline litigation, making it faster, easier, less burdensome, and less expensive. So, now that we are some years into the e-discovery experience, has the prediction come true? Sadly, not necessarily.
While it is true that it can be easier to retrieve information electronically by using search terms, rather than sending teams of associates into warehouses to rummage through boxes of documents, that is just the tip of the iceberg when considering the overall e-discovery effort. And even if vast quantities of electronic information can be brought up based on a simple search, that information had to be harvested at the front-end, and ultimately will need to be reviewed at the back-end.
A new Second Circuit decision could change the way some service providers conduct business on the internet, imposing a greater burden to assess specific infringing activity.
In Viacom v. YouTube, Viacom sought $1 billion in damages for direct and secondary copyright infringement based on claims that its users improperly uploaded thousands of Viacom’s videos. The district previously held that YouTube was protected against claims of copyright infringement under the DMCA safe harbor primarily because it had insufficient notice of the particular infringement at issue. Essentially, it held that under the DMCA, service providers did not have a responsibility to identify which of its users’ postings infringed a copyright.
Previously, we reported that a federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the two prevailing defendants may recover more than $365,000 in e-discovery costs because such costs are the modern-day equivalent of duplication costs. That decision has now been vacated and remanded back to the District Court to re-tax costs. According to the panel, only the scanning of hard copy documents, the conversion of native file to TIFF and the transfer of VHS tapes to DVD involved taxable “copying” costs, which are recoverable.
Electronic discovery can be time-consuming, burdensome and expensive. Indeed, at times, e-discovery can be the tail that wags the litigation dog.
As a consequence, Chief Judge Randall Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, on behalf of an E-Discovery Committee, recently introduced a Model Order for Patent E-Discovery.
The Committee’s discussion underpinning the Model Order notes that federal district courts have inherent power to control their dockets in the interests of time and economy. Accordingly, it is the Committee’s view that the Model Order may be a “helpful starting point for district courts to use in requiring the responsible, targeted use of e-discovery in patent cases.”
Foreigners can be protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). The parts of the ECPA that prevent ISP’s from revealing electronic communications apply to foreigners when their emails are stored on a domestic server, the Ninth Circuit has ruled.
In Suzlon Energy v. Microsoft, the plaintiff had directed a subpoena to Microsoft seeking the substance of emails between a citizen of India with respect to fraud litigation in Australia. Microsoft did not comply with the subpoena, taking the position that to do so would violate the ECPA. The federal trial court agreed and quashed the subpoena.
While it may surprise some, the answer to that question is YES. As a result of the expanding volume of electronic data that must be produced in litigation, e-discovery costs have been one of the biggest concerns of both clients and lawyers for some time. Now, clients and lawyers alike have reason to stress about the costs even more. Recently, a federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania held that the two prevailing defendants may recover e-discovery costs because such costs are the modern-day equivalent of duplication costs. While the judge took care to limit the ruling to the “unique” facts associated with this case, it has not stopped lawyers from speculating about what other cases might similarly fall within the purview of this ruling.