Best Lawyers® 2016 Recognizes 21 Morris James Attorneys

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Twenty-one Morris James attorneys in twenty-six practice areas were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2016 edition. Additionally, three of those attorneys were named “Lawyer of the Year” for their respective practices, including Richard Galperin for Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Gretchen S. Knight for Family Law, and Mark D. Olson for Tax Law.  More ›

Delaware Student Data Privacy Protection Act Awaits Governor’s Signature

With the continuing push for more prolific and creative use of technology in Kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms, student data has become more valuable, and the protection of that data of greater concern.  In the face of the perceived need for greater protection of student data, the Delaware General Assembly, on June 25, 2015, approved SS1 for SB 79 (the “Student Data Privacy Protection Act” or “SDPPA”).  Expressly modeled on California’s Student Online Personal Information Privacy Act, the SDPPA is designed to prohibit educational technology service providers from selling student data, using student data to engage in targeted advertising to students and their families, or creating student profiles for non-educational purposes. More ›

Delaware Enacts Online Privacy Law – Website Operators Will Need to Comply

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Online businesses take note. Delaware may finally have an online privacy law. On June 25, 2015, the Delaware General Assembly passed SS1 for SB68, known as the “Delaware Online Privacy and Protection Act.” If signed by the governor, DOPPA will go into effect on January 1, 2016. More ›

A Roadmap to the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act - A Webinar Presentation On June 24, 2015

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Join us for a webinar on the new DRAA.

June 24, 2015 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

The enactment of the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act (the "DRAA") is a breakthrough in the quest for an efficient, cost-effective and timely process to resolve business disputes,  This webinar explains how the DRAA differs from traditional arbitration by providing a fast resolution that avoids the expense of extensive pre-hearing discovery, disputes over arbitration solution and multiple appeals. More ›

Looking Back on 2014: The 7 Most Important eDiscovery Cases in Delaware - Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts summarizing the 7 most important eDiscovery cases in Delaware in 2014.

Herbert Chen and Derek Sheeler v. Robert Howard-Anderson, Steven Krausz, Robert Abbott, Robert Bylin, Thomas Pardun, Brian Strom, Albert Moyer, Jeanne Seeley, and Occam Networks, Inc., C.A. No. 5878–VCL, Oral Argument on Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Production of Documents by Defendants and Jefferies and for Sanctions Against Defendants and the Court's Rulings, September 4, 2014.

While the Chen v. Howard-Anderson case has been discussed in the corporate arena as an important case relating to Delaware fiduciary law, 102(b)(7) exculpatory provisions, and Revlon duties, the case also highlights the importance of transparency in the discovery process.  Chen is a reminder of how seriously the Courts in Delaware treat counsel’s discovery obligations. More ›

R. Eric Hacker Joins Morris James LLP’s Real Estate and Business Litigation Practices

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Morris James LLP is pleased to announce that R. Eric Hacker has joined the firm’s Georgetown office as an associate in its Real Estate and Business Litigation practice groups. His practice will focus on residential and commercial real estate, and commercial litigation. More ›

CorpCast Episode 5: The eDiscovery Big Picture

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Many attorneys view eDiscovery as merely something they “have to do.”  On Episode 5, we speak to Ian McCauley, Morris James’ eDiscovery coordinator about jettisoning this and other misconceptions about eDiscovery practice.  Instead, Ian suggests that effective eDiscovery practice can be a valuable litigation tool, and that attorneys should focus on how eDiscovery can help, not hinder, their case.  We’ll talk to Ian about the role of an eDiscovery coordinator in a larger litigation group, the Delaware courts’ attitudes toward eDiscovery, and certain eDiscovery issues that often arise in corporate and commercial cases.  More ›

Fourteen Morris James Attorneys Recognized in Chambers USA 2015

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Morris James LLP is pleased to announce that fourteen attorneys in six separate practice areas have been ranked among the leading Delaware lawyers in the 2015 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.  The Chancery, Intellectual Property and Labor & Employment practice areas also received recognition from Chambers USA. More ›

Delaware Super Lawyers® 2015 Recognizes 8 Morris James Attorneys

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Delaware Super Lawyers® magazine has recognized four Morris James partners as top legal counsel in Delaware and four "Rising Stars®" attorneys. "Rising Stars®” is a recognition for lawyers who are 40 or under, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. “Delaware Super Lawyers®” is a listing that reflects the top five percent of the attorneys statewide. More ›

LegalTech New York 2015 Impressions

Legal Tech New York 2015 took place in early February and the Morris James eDiscovery team was lucky enough to attend for the third straight year. The general impression is that the eDiscovery focus has continued to shift away from the view that predictive coding/TAR is a panacea that will greatly reduce the costs of eDiscovery. It appears that the conversation has moved towards a variety of other methods to improve efficiency and reduce client costs. More ›

Looking Back on 2014: The 7 Most Important eDiscovery Cases in Delaware – Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts summarizing the 7 most important eDiscovery cases in Delaware in 2014.

The second case is 112359 Factor Fund, LLC and Five Nine Group, LLC v. Flux Carbon Starter Fund, LLC, Mary Carroll, Kevin Kreisler, and James L. Sonageri, C.A. No. 9568–VCL, Telephonic Oral Argument on Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel and Rulings of the Court, 06/20/2014.

In response to Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel, the Defendants claimed they did not have sufficient time or resources to review all 73,000 documents yielded by the search terms used.  Vice Chancellor Laster was not swayed by these arguments.  An Order had been entered earlier in the case requiring the parties to not only meet and confer regarding search terms, but to also "do more than the standard" and "confer regarding the use of an early data assessment tool…to focus on the custodians and time periods most likely to have responsive electronic documents”.  Defendants’ reasons for missing the production deadline included delays in collecting the documents from their clients and insufficient manpower to properly review them.  The Vice Chancellor found these explanations to be insufficient.  The Court explained that in an expedited case, the parties need to think about approaches other than the “old school attorney-by-attorney review”.  Had an early data assessment tool been appropriately used, as instructed, the number of search hits would not have come as a surprise and counsel could have thought ahead and planned appropriately to meet the discovery deadlines.  The Court ordered that a copy of the transcript be given to Defendants clients, to help them understand that not complying with a discovery order will have serious consequences. More ›

Morris James Launches Data Privacy and Information Governance Group

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Morris James LLP has formed a Data Privacy and Information Governance Group. The Data Privacy and Information Governance Group is an interdisciplinary team of corporate and fiduciary duty attorneys, attorneys well-versed in electronic data storage and discovery, attorneys with bankruptcy and insurance-related backgrounds, and non-attorney IT staff knowledgeable about trends in data security and technology. Together, the group advises boards of directors and officers in assessing and managing risk and defending claims for alleged breach of fiduciary duty arising from data breaches. More ›

Jeff Waxman Co-Authors Article on Preservation

Jeff Waxman of Morris James' Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights Group recently co-authored an article which appeared in the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal entitled "Document Preservation Strategies for Creditors in a World with Changing Discovery Rules."

Jeff and his co-author, Jennifer McClain McLemore, explore whether the proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will impact the preservation duties of creditors both big and small.

Looking Back on 2014: The 7 Most Important eDiscovery Cases in Delaware - Part 1

The Court of Chancery continued to focus on eDiscovery throughout 2014.  During the next few weeks we will be recapping 7 cases that covered various topics including preservation, designation of confidential material and the drafting of privilege logs.  We will cover the cases in chronological order.

The first case is Sustainable Biofuels Solutions, LLC v. Tekgar, LLC and Michael Catto, C.A. No. 8741--VCP, Oral Argument on Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel and for Sanctions, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, and Rulings of the Court, 01/28/2014

In this dispute between a joint venture entity and one of its founding members, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel based on Defendants’ untimely production of emails, their blanket designation of 21,000 produced documents as Attorneys’ Eyes Only in violation of a Confidentiality Order, and lack of transparency throughout the eDiscovery process.

Before addressing the Motion to Compel, Vice Chancellor Parsons first reminded the parties of the Supreme Court case Christian v. Counseling Resources Associates, where the Supreme Court put litigants on notice that if they act without Court approval in modifying a scheduling order, they do so at their own risk.  By choosing not to involve the Court, the party waives its right to dispute the opposing party’s late filings going forward.  The Supreme Court advised that the best way to still “avoid motion practice and ill-will by agreeing to reasonable extension requests…[is to] promptly file a proposed amended scheduling order for the trial court’s signature.”

The court next found that the Defendants had failed to comply with their obligations under the confidentiality order by designating over 21,000 documents as Attorneys' Eyes Only.  Under the order, designation required review by an attorney and a good faith basis for such designation.   The court stated that "there is no way that an attorney could have looked at these documents and made a reasonable determination that there was a good faith basis for designating them as Confidential - Attorneys' Eyes Only..."  The Defendants stated that they received the documents from their client at a late date and thus were rushed in their review.  This necessitated the overdesignation of the documents.

Given that Vice Chancellor Parsons felt the Plaintiff had notified the Court “pretty promptly” of the discovery issues and that the Defendants had failed to comply with their obligations under the Confidentiality Order, the Court imposed sanctions of $10,000 in attorneys’ fees against the Defendants and gave them a strict deadline to complete any necessary dedesignations.  The Defendants were further ordered to answer the Plaintiff’s questions regarding how they unilaterally refined the agreed-upon search terms and exactly what files were searched and to generally operate with a greater degree of transparency.

Three key takeaways can be taken from this case. First, if an attorney is unsure of who to proceed on eDiscovery issues, he or she should reach out to a colleague or vendor for guidance and assistance. The Vice Chancellor wrote that “It’s not unusual in cases of this type and in many, probably the majority, of the cases in the Court of Chancery that electronic discovery is proceeding by way of search terms and searches of custodians.  That’s the way it’s usually done.  If it’s a surprise to any attorney…then that attorney needs to associate himself or herself with people who know what they’re doing and are more familiar with it.”

The second takeaway is that the court should be promptly informed of any agreement regarding changes to a CMO.

Finally, parties need to factor in the time it takes to actually review documents in order to avoid situations such as confidentiality or privilege overdesignations.  Parties should give themselves more than enough time to factor in the perhaps most important step between collection and production...attorney review of documents.

The entire transcript can be found here: Transcript of Sustainable Biofuels v. Tekgar

Controlling Data Storage Costs with Nearlining

A recent podcast from the Legal Talk Network's ESI Report addresses cost control, an important issue for any client, eDiscovery attorney, or eDiscovery vendor.  As the sheer volume of collections continues to increase and as the complexity and variety of the data collected continues to complicate review and production, we look to new tools to streamline the process.  "Nearlining" is one such tool.

Nearlining enables reviewers to set aside unnecessary data for potential use at a later time.  As a review progresses and a reviewer deems certain documents non-responsive, he may nearline those documents, which reduces a client's data footprint without deleting portions of the collection.  This allows reviewers to easily access and focus on the most relevant content, but also lowers costs for clients by reducing their footprint on vendor servers, thus reducing hosting costs.

It is suggested that the non-responsiveness of documents is confirmed through a quality control process before nearlining the documents.

For a full discussion or nearlining and several other cost-savings techniques, see below: