Author Archives: Ron Tienzo

Treading Past Angels: Finding the Right Search Expert for Your Case

Last February, Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. sued UBS Real Estate Securities Inc. for breach of contract, accusing the company of failing to meet obligations related to the pooling of residential mortgage-backed securities. As the case moved along, disputes arose over discovery and both sides filed motions to compel.

One of the discovery issues in dispute was the adequacy of the search terms that Assured proposed to apply to electronic documents. Ruling on this issue in a Nov. 21, 2012, memorandum, U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV began by quoting the oft-cited words of another U.S. magistrate judge, John M. Facciola, in U.S. v. O’Keefe: Continue reading

Automatic Footers: Toothless Legal Verbiage Causes Search Headaches

“The contents of this email may be privileged and confidential and are intended for the use of the intended addressee(s) only. Unless you are the addressee, you may not use, copy or disclose to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. Under penalty of death, public ridicule, and death a second time you are legally obligated to: 1) Delete this email and all copies. 2) Destroy your computer and email server using fire, sledge hammer, and/or atomic weapon. 3) Bury the remains of step two in a haunted pet cemetery. 4) Confess to a religious leader of your choosing that you read an unintended electronic communication and promise never to do it again.” Continue reading

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I’ve finally recovered from my yearly “Brand Bowl” hangover. For those not familiar with the event, Brand Bowl is where the best and the brightest companies march on the field of battle, your television, to try to win consumers’ praises and pocketbooks. The action is intense, broken up only by intermittent bouts of football and halftime shows. Costing $3 million for a 30-second spot, the stakes are high. To the victors, a viral buzz worth 10 times the money spent; to the losers, a costly blemish to their brand identity. Continue reading

The Bead, the Cupcake and the Million Dollar Sanction

10:14 pm. Crying and screaming. Get out of the car. Grab my daughter. Run through the blistering cold. Check in to the emergency room. Pray everything is going to be alright.

That was my Tuesday night. The kids were put to bed early and my wife and I were enjoying the precious few moments that we get to spend alone together. Then the screaming started. From upstairs we could hear my girl shrieking at the top of her lungs.

I ran up stairs faster than I thought possible. As I entered her room, she looked up at me with her sad doe eyes. Between the sobs, I heard, “Papa, it’s stuck in my nose.”

While we thought she was sleeping, she had grabbed a glass bead off of a broken necklace and stuck it in her nose. Each attempt to remove the bead just pushed it in further. It got pushed so far back that it necessitated a trip to the emergency room to get it out.

After lots of tears, some very compassionate nurses, and a late night cupcake run, my daughter is now bead free and doing well. Continue reading

Investigating the E-Discovery Word on the Street: ‘Unitization’

“Papa, there is a noise in the fireplace. We need to investigate!” – My 3-year-old

These are the first words out of my daughter’s mouth when I come home. While my wife and I try to introduce her to new words, “investigate” was not one of them. I should be concerned about the family of squirrels living in my chimney. Instead, I want to know where she had learned such a big word.

Turns out she learned it on the street. The very same street where I learned a lot of the words I still use today, Sesame Street. Despite 30 years age difference between us, this kids’ program has transcended generations.

We sit on the couch and pull up the episode on the DVR. I am instantly transported to my childhood. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, the Count and I spent many mornings together, me in my footie pajamas and bowl of cereal and them meeting outside Hooper’s store.

During the episode, a furry red puppet named Murray introduces us to the Word on the Street: “investigate.” Twenty minutes later, Colin Farrell shows up with Elmo to show how they investigate.

Continue reading

E-Discovery, You Say? But What Do You Actually Do for a Living?

This year I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party by an old college friend. Being the introverted person that I am, I dread these types of social gatherings. Still, in hopes of turning over a new leaf, I decided to go.

At the party, I knew only a handful of people, so I was forced to do the question dance for most of the night. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it usually goes like this:

Q: So what do you do for a living?
A: I’m a teacher.
Q: That’s great, what do you teach? Continue reading

Tangled: Taking the Knots Out of E-Mail Threads and Near Duplicates

I was recently asked out on a daddy-daughter date by my three-year-old girl. Although I was the one paying (she has yet to find a job, I blame the recession), she got to pick the activity. For our date, we went out to the matinée showing of the Disney movie, Tangled. For those of you without young children, Tangled is the modern interpretation of the classic fairytale, Rapunzel.

At work the following Monday I was asked how to effectively untangle e-mail threading and near duplicates. I immediately thought of the movie I just saw and realized that I have knots of my own – or, should I say, of my clients – to work through.

For example: Say you have an e-mail with an attachment, a real estate contract. This e-mail was sent to five recipients. Each of them then forwarded it to five others. In the collection, there exist multiple duplicates and near-duplicates of the attachment that were themselves sent in multiple different e-mails. These e-mails were also forwarded, modified and re-forwarded.

How can the review team be sure these documents are being reviewed efficiently and coded consistently? With multiple reviewers and a large document collection, the chain of duplicates and near-duplicates can easily lead to confusion and inconsistencies. Continue reading

Setting Up Review Workflows for Multi-Language Documents

The world is getting smaller. For large corporations, it is virtually certain that their operations span multiple countries. But it is no longer just large corporations that operate globally. These days, even small- and mid-sized businesses are likely to have international components.

When a business is international, then any legal matters involving that business are also likely to be international in scope. In the context of litigation or a government investigation, that means the matter is likely to involve documents in more than one language. Often, such cases will involve collections of documents in a number of different languages – or even single documents containing multiple languages.

In other words, multi-language documents are a fact of e-discovery life these days. For e-discovery professionals, processing and review of multi-language collections raise a number of issues. In this post, I want to talk about one – review workflow. Continue reading

Objective Indexing: Facciola-Redgrave Framework

To follow up on my recent blog post on the The Facciola-Redgrave Framework, I was asked to go into more detail regarding what if anything should be provided to the opposing party.

As I described in my earlier post, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola and Nixon Peabody partner Jonathan M. Redgrave have proposed a system of dealing with privilege by using categories. They outlined their proposal in a November 2009 article published in The Federal Courts Law Review, Asserting and Challenging Privilege Claims in Modern Litigation: The Facciola-Redgrave Framework.

Facciola and Redgrave propose that instead of a traditional privilege review, large segments of documents can be grouped together by categories with a high likelihood of privilege. These categories of documents can be excluded from entry in a privilege log and, in some cases, from collection and review entirely.

So what should be handed to the other side for these categorized documents? According to the journal authors, in lieu of a traditional privilege log, an objective index can be provided for some or all of the categories. An objective index is comprised of “readily available information [that] can be prepared to aid the parties in understanding the universe of documents at issue.” Continue reading