Funny thing about discovery: Sometimes, the Judge needs to see the electronically stored information too.
However, most judges will not want a lawyer to swing by in a truck to drop off 80 bankers boxes of printed email and spreadsheets at the courthouse.
It is also unlikely many Courts can afford purchasing litigation support software. In these situations a web hosted review platform can be the solution.
For those not familiar with them, a hosted litigation support solution is a database hosted online by a third party for a law firm or multiple firms. This could be a firm with a very large case or multi-party litigation. Each party can have its own secure log in passwords and not have access to their opponents’ work product.
Magistrate Judge Facciola issued a discovery order that required the parties to consider using a hosted review platform. The order set out as a “primary goal” for the parties to select a review platform with “hyper-linked to fields in a database that will permit the instantaneous retrieval from within the database of the information offered by plaintiffs in support of any factual proposition.” El-Amin v. George Wash. Univ., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85009 (D.D.C. Oct. 22, 2008).
The Court set out three secondary goals:
- A. The review software had to be easily used by counsel and by the Court.
- B. The Court needed access to the review software.
- C. The review software needed to be self-contained. El-Amin v. George Wash. Univ., 2.
The Court even went so far as draft a six column database as an example for the parties. El-Amin v. George Wash. Univ., 2.
|Claim||Dr.||Date||Plaintiff’s||Defendant’s objection||Court’s ruling|
|No.||evidence in||and any countering|
|123||Smith||10/02/01||Document or||Counter argument why||Claim|
|testimony||evidence is insufficient;||sustained or|
|tender of countering||denied, with|
Judges are judges because they are educated problem solvers. It is not hard to imagine more discovery orders such as El-Amin v. George Wash. Univ. Courts will face situations requiring all parties to have access to ESI and rulings to be made on objections, privileges or admissibility. A hosted solution can distribute the costs among the parties and allow a court an opportunity to review the discovery for expedited rulings. This beats a moving truck full of boxes.