Showing 7 posts from 2014.

Court of Chancery Clarifies Delaware Counsel's Role in Discovery

In James v. National Financial LLC, C.A. 8931-VCL (Del Ch. Dec. 5,2014) the Court of Chancery outlined Delaware Counsel's discovery obligations as well as the type of sanctions that may be imposed for not complying with those obligations.

Plaintiff James moved for entry of default judgment against Defendant National after the Defendant failed to comply with a court order requiring it to produce a specific document (a previously produced spreadsheet that included more detailed information) as well as retain an IT consultant to assist with collection of that document.  The Defendant was also ordered to provide an affidavit from the IT consultant attesting to how the document was collected.

No affidavit was produced.  The updated spreadsheet did not have the information required by the court.  National did retain an IT consultant, but, according to the court, this was a half-hearted attempt. 

Vice Chancellor Laster granted James' Motion for Sanctions.  In writing for the court, the Vice Chancellor stated that "National's discovery misconduct calls for serious measures.  Although I believe that entry of a default judgment would be warranted on these facts, I will not grant that remedy in light of the Delaware Supreme Court's guidance about invoking the ultimate sanction and the availability of less punitive consequences."  Instead, the court awarded attorneys' fees and ruled that the lack of information contained in the requested document resulted in an admission.

The Vice Chancellor took special care to discuss Delaware counsel's role in the discovery process.  First, the Court reiterated that Delaware counsel was not merely there to sign papers and act as a mail drop.  Delaware counsel is expected to be involved in the case.  The Vice Chancellor, in citing State Line Ventures, LLC v. RBS Citizens, 2009 Del. Ch. LEXIS 233 (Del. Ch. Dec. 2, 2009),  stated that "Even when forwarding counsel has been admitted pro hac vice and is taking a lead role in the case, the Court of Chancery does not recognize the role of purely 'local counsel'...our Rules make clear that the Delaware lawyer who appears in an action always remains responsible to the Court for the case and its presentation." 

Second, the court emphasized Delaware counsel's role in discovery. The Vice Chancellor stated "The court expects Delaware counsel to play an active role in the discovery process, including in the collection, review and production of documents.  If Delaware counsel does not directly participate in the collection, review and production of documents, then at a minimum Delaware counsel should discuss with co-counsel the court's expectations." 

When read with other recent cases, it is clear that Delaware counsel should, at the very least, provide advice to co-counsel regarding the collection, review and production of documents.  This case, along with other recent cases such as Chen v. Howard-Anderson and In Re ISN Software Corp., demonstrates how seriously the Court of Chancery takes the eDiscovery process and points to an emerging body of law on the subject.

Morris James Leads Delaware Today "Top Lawyers" Edition with 25 Recognitions

Posted In News
Morris James LLP is pleased to congratulate the lawyers listed below, who were most recommended by their professional peers in a survey of Delaware attorneys conducted by Delaware Today magazine. Morris James received more "top lawyer" peer recognitions and had more "top vote-getters" than any other law firm. Top vote-getters are listed in bold below and a number following a name indicates the number of recognitions this year. More ›

FRCP Amendments Approved

Posted In Federal Rules

According to Bloomberg BNA, the proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States and have been forwarded to the Supreme Court for consideration.  Rule 37(e) has received the most attention to date, as it focuses on sanctions as well as remedies for the failure to preserve data.

These amendments promise to change the eDiscovery landscape, though debate will continue as to what degree.

Laura G. Readinger Joins Morris James LLP as an Associate in Business Litigation

June 25, 2014

Morris James LLP has announced that Laura G. Readinger has joined the Firm’s Wilmington office as an associate in its Business Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Readinger’s practice will focus on electronic discovery during all aspects of litigation. “Ms. Readinger brings an exciting depth of experience to the firm,” says managing partner, David H. Williams, “We are pleased to add her talents to the litigation group.”

Prior to joining Morris James, Ms. Readinger served as a law clerk in Ohio and an eData associate in Philadelphia. She was also an associate in Guatemala where she used her fluency in Spanish to review corporate contracts and act as a liaison with American clients.

Ms. Readinger received her J.D. in 2007 from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where she received the Dean’s Merit Award and the Academic Promise Award. She is a 2004 graduate of Cornell University, where she received her B.A. in Psychology with a Concentration in Law and Society. She is admitted to practice law in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York and she is also the Treasurer of the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania.

Morris James Receives Top Legal Rankings in Chambers USA 2014

Posted In News

Thirteen Lawyers and Four Practices Recognized as Top-Tier in Delaware

Morris James LLP is pleased to announce that thirteen attorneys in five separate practice areas have been top ranked among the leading Delaware lawyers in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.  Chambers also ranked four of its practice areas as among the top practices in Delaware including Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Chancery, Intellectual Property and Labor & Employment.  Read more.

Morris James Receives Top Legal Rankings in Chambers USA 2014

Posted In Case Summaries, News

Thirteen Lawyers and Four Practices Recognized as Top-Tier in Delaware

Morris James LLP is pleased to announce that thirteen attorneys in five separate practice areas have been top ranked among the leading Delaware lawyers in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.  Chambers also ranked four of its practice areas as among the top practices in Delaware including Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Chancery, Intellectual Property and Labor & Employment.  Read more.

LegalTech 2014 - A Focus on Information Governance

Posted In News
Last week I attended LegalTech at the Hilton in New York City. During the past two years the focus of LegalTech has largely been on the continuing Predictive Coding discussion with an emphasis on using it to reduce the cost of discovery. This year's conference, however, featured more varied CLE topics and discussions. More ›