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Summaries, news and resources relating to eDiscovery in Delaware and beyond.
Showing 7 posts in Access to ESI.
Case Spotlight: TCV VI, L.P. v. TradingScreen Inc., 2018 WL 1907212 (Del. Ch. Apr. 23, 2018) (Laster, V.C.)
Philippe Buhannic is a founder of TradingScreen Inc. (the “Company”) and was formerly its CEO and Chairman of the Board. His brother, Patrick Buhannic, was also formerly a director of the Company. In 2014, plaintiffs filed this action alleging that defendants had breached their fiduciary duties when determining how much of plaintiffs’ preferred stock to redeem. Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP (“Morris Nichols”) represented all defendants through trial, including Philippe and Patrick (together, the "Buhannics"); however, during settlement negotiations, it became clear that the Buhannics were adverse to the other defendants. In response, Morris Nichols withdrew as counsel to the Buhannics and advised the defendants that it could not participate further in the settlement negotiations. More ›
This is the first in a series of posts summarizing the 6 most important eDiscovery cases in Delaware in 2015.
In re: ISN Software Corporation Appraisal Litigation, C.A. No. 8388–VCG, Oral Argument on Petitioners Motion to Compel and Partial Rulings of the Court, April 27, 2015. More ›
2015 saw continued interest by the Delaware courts in various aspects of eDiscovery. The courts dealt with broad issues, such as spoliation and general discovery misconduct, while also focusing on narrower issues, such as document review and redactions.
This blog will be summarizing these 6 cases in more depth throughout the rest of 2016. The 6 cases that will be summarized are below: More ›
In Amalgamated Bank v. Yahoo!, Inc., C.A. No. 10774-VCL (Del. Ch. Feb. 2, 2016), Plaintiff Amalgamated Bank’s Section 220 books and records demand sought, among other things, the emails of certain Yahoo officers and directors. Yahoo objected to the request as overly broad, but the Court found differently. Continuing the trend from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Ind. Elec. Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW, 95 A.3d 1264, 1271 (Del. 2014), which first permitted access beyond board materials, the Court ordered inspection of certain Yahoo director and officer documents and communications. In addition, the Court found that the directors’ and officers’ personal email accounts were subject to inspection if they were used to conduct business. This development signals to corporate officers and directors’ that personal emails may be discoverable in a 220 Action if the emails are essential to fulfilling a plaintiff’s proper purpose. More ›
This is the fifth in a series of posts summarizing the 7 most important eDiscovery cases in Delaware in 2014.
Kan-Di-Ki, LLC (d/b/a Diagnostic Laboratories) v. Robert Suer, C.A. No. 7937–VCP, Oral Argument on Various Outstanding Motions, Pre-Trial Conference and Rulings of the Court on Motion for Summary Judgment, September 24, 2014.
While various motions were addressed at this hearing before Vice Chancellor Parsons, the most relevant to eDiscovery was the Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions for suppression or spoliation of evidence, including the deletion of relevant emails and the loss of unpreserved text messages which the Plaintiff argued pointed to a “pattern of suppression” on the part of the Defendant. Plaintiff requested that the Court draw broad adverse inferences against the Defendant and afford his testimony no weight. Additionally, the Plaintiff requested fees and costs associated with the motion. More ›
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 ›
As I suppose we could have expected, 2009 has delivered the most important eDiscovery cases to date, and we’re only half way through the year (or we were when I started writing this series). The District Court started us off before the last of the New Year’s confetti had been swept up by issuing its decision in Micron Technology, Inc. v. Rambus, Inc., C.A. No. 00-792-SLR on January 9, 2009, declaring certain patents unenforceable as a sanction for spoliation. In a suit for patent infringement, Micron claimed Rambus employed a document retention policy that destroyed documents while they had a duty to preserve. The Court said that Rambus was an “aggressive competitor” so should have foreseen litigation as far back as December 1998. All relevant documents destroyed by Rambus after that time was spoliation. As a sanction, the Court decided the patents at issue were not enforceable against Micron.
Not to be out done, and what has really made 2009 interesting, the Court of Chancery has recently issued three opinions with significant eDiscovery implications. On May 18, the Court issued its decision in Triton Constr. Co. v. Eastern Shore Elec. Servs., Inc., 2009 WL 1387115, granting an adverse inference as a sanction for spoliation. In a suit for breach of fiduciary duty, Triton alleged that defendant Kirk had intentionally destroyed evidence on his office computer with a wiping program. Triton’s forensic expert found evidence that Kirk had used the program to annihilate files and emails. Kirk had also been required to produce his personal laptop and thumb drive, which he failed to produce claiming he no longer owned them. The Court didn’t buy it, and issued an adverse inference.
Just days later, on May 29, the Court issued two—yes, two—significant decisions: Omnicare, Inc. v. Mariner Health Care Mgmt. Co., 2009 WL 1515609; and Beard Research, Inc. v. Kates, 2009 WL 1515625. (Oh, what a glorious time it was for eDiscovery nerds everywhere!) In Omnicare, the Court ruled that just because data is on a backup tape doesn’t automatically make it ‘not reasonably accessible.’ Omnicare sued Mariner for breach of contract and moved to compel Mariner to restore backup tapes to retrieve old emails deleted pursuant to their data retention policy. Mariner asked the Court to force Omnicare to pay for the restoration or to allow it hold off on restoration and produce emails from its active files so the parties could assess whether the restoration could reasonably be anticipated to lead to relevant information. The Court looked to Zubulake to analyze the cost-shifting argument, and decided that cost-shifting was not warranted in this case, noting that just because “ESI is now contained on Backup Tapes instead of in active stores does not necessarily render it not reasonably accessible.” Nonetheless, the Court opted not to order the restoration, opting instead for the active file sampling Mariner proposed.
In Beard Research, the Court brought the hammer down on Kates for blatant, repeated, audacious spoliation. Beard sued Kates for tortuous interference and asked the Court to impose sanctions on Kates for spoliation. Kates repeatedly reformatted his laptop’s hard drive, then replaced the drive (but kept it), then wiped the new drive on the eve of the hearing in which he was explicitly told he would be required to turn the laptop over. The Court awarded attorneys’ fees and imposed an adverse inference, and Kates should thank his lucky stars the Court decided to go easy on him.
There we have it—the State of eDiscovery in Delaware. I’m off to the beach for a week.