Plaintiff eDiscovery Tools and Services Conquer Defense Production Challenges

Electronic Discovery Experts Find Practical Solutions to Unique Problems

Class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation often presents eDiscovery production challenges to overcome, and at first these challenges may seem insurmountable. ILS specializes in eDiscovery tools finding creative, practical solutions to unique problems to achieve the goals of our clients in an efficient and cost-effective manner. To understand some of our approaches to what we do, we have provided this information about our recent case projects as examples of how our methods for plaintiff electronic discovery saves our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in processing and diagnostic costs.

The Importance of Native File Format for Improved ESI Productions

Tsunami of documents

“The Case of the Costly Tsunami of Documents”

ILS saved the Plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars in processing and diagnostic costs with native file formatting and eDiscovery tools..

The Challenge

As part of the discovery meet and confer in a national-scope consumer class action lawsuit, the Defendants informed the Plaintiffs that they intended to produce ESI in TIFF format, with an accompanying TXT file which placed all of the different data fields from the original ESI into a single TEXT field. Further, although many of the items were in Korean and Japanese and translations were available, no translations would be provided. Plaintiff’s original ESI consultant advised them that this offer was not unreasonable and should not be contested.

Plaintiffs initially hired ILS to assist with the foreign language translation problems. However, in working with the Plaintiffs to design a cost-efficient translation and review process, ILS learned that although the target items were predominately ESI, no native ESI or fielded data would be provided – facts which imposed significant additional costs on the entire process envisioned for translation and review. Also, the Plaintiffs wished to use cutting edge diagnostic tools to assist in their analysis of what was sure to be a tsunami of documents. The best diagnostic tools work most efficiently (and least expensively) where the inputs are native files – not TIFFS or the kind of single field text file offered by the defendants.

The Solution

ILS provided an expert ESI consultant to work with the Plaintiffs as part of the team negotiating the ESI production stipulation. At the very first meeting, the Defendants admitted that they could provide fielded data (much less expensive to work with than TIFFs and a single text file) and that they could easily provide a better production format than the previously offered TIFFs and text. It was all downhill from there.

The Result

An ESI stipulation and order that required the Defendants to produce in native format with a rich selection of fielded data and translations of many of the foreign documents. Oh, and yes, the Plaintiffs did agree to take TIFFs, as well.

The improved production data saved the Plaintiffs hundreds of thousands of dollars in processing and diagnostic costs, which would have otherwise been imposed by the less usable TIFFs and TEXT offered by the Defendants. The improved data set has also saved hundreds of staff hours which would have been spent locating and organizing the materials—tasks which can now be performed programmatically or as assisted by computer tools. Finally, the sophisticated diagnostic tools turned on this improved data set allowed the Plaintiffs to lay their hands on crucial documents months earlier than their former work process would have allowed.

eDiscovery Tools Include Foreign Language Translation and Document Review

Avalanche of documents

“The Case of the Foreign Document Avalanche”

Assisting Clients with Foreign Language Review in an IP Matter 50+ million pages, 3 languages, 2 countries, small Plaintiff review team. See how ILS conquered this beast!

The Challenge

We were engaged by a law firm to assist them in bringing a patent enforcement action in U.S. federal court on behalf of their Japanese client. Our consultants were to assist with dealing with the many foreign language issues presented by the matter. The target data set was 50+ million pages. The core foreign language documents were in three languages: Japanese, Korean and English. Most were technical in nature and would require a specialized review team with knowledge of the technologies involved.

  • The first hurdle was to review the client’s documents, which were in all three languages. The available review team consisted of about 6 to 8 persons – some located in the United States and some in Japan. The time frame for the review was 45 to 60 days. (45 days preferred, slippage possible to 60, but no further.) To make matters more interesting, it was expected that the preliminary document pull had netted many privileged and irrelevant documents which would need to be identified and weeded out. Many of the items to be weeded out pertained to technologies and projects which were substantially similar to those which were relevant.
  • The next hurdle was to review the opponent’s documents – mostly Korean, with some Japanese and a few in English. The foreign language documents would be technologically oriented and probably discussed the same technologies created by our client with purposefully different terms and descriptions. In addition, the Case Management Order contained a confidentiality agreement. A few members of the Japan team were not permitted to view the opposition’s confidential trade secret documents, which comprised the bulk of the production.
  • Last but not least, we would need to combine both reviews to prioritize documents, which would be used in the patent prosecution effort.
  • The work team was multi-lingual – bilingual Japanese/English, some who spoke only English, some who spoke only Japanese. Some were located on the East Coast of the United States, while others would be working from Japan.

The Solution

Our consulting staff worked with the law firm and the client to speedily create a mix of search and review eDiscovery tools, as well as consulting and litigation support services, to meet their particular needs.

The law firm first had been considering using free foreign language translation software to translate the case documents and load them into a firm-hosted basic litigation review platform. The firm had soon dismissed this possible solution. Free language translation, or indeed, any of the machine translation packages, would not translate the technology terms well enough, let alone the nuances of technology and scientific language. Next, the firm was sophisticated as to its legal abilities, but it was not a large firm. The firm did not have a separate litigation support team, and its IT group admitted that they might not be able to support the 24/7 cross-lingual review environment which would be created by the east coast and Japan teams working simultaneously in the same document set in a tool they were unfamiliar with.

A custom package of different tools was created for this project, hosted in an online document repository which permitted work across time zones and indeed, national boundaries. Consulting and litigation support services were made available 24/7 through a mix of on-site, virtual and phone resources. First, to permit all of the language speakers – bi and mono lingual – to work in the same documents set, we matched then with search and review tools that could search Kanji and Korean character sets as well as English. This way the documents could be loaded in their original language, and each reviewer could work in the language they preferred. Each reviewer’s log-in could be assigned security levels which enforced the confidentiality and other agreements from the Case Management Order.

In addition, we matched them with conceptual search technology tools. This provided two strategic assets. First, the tool supported cross-lingual searching. Each reviewer could search in their favored language, and the search would return all documents regardless of language. (For example, searches in Japanese would return Korean and English documents as well as Japanese.) In addition, the conceptual tool supported “learning” of nuanced concepts – necessary in this case to permit teasing out the irrelevant and privileged documents mixed in with the relevant document set. Our consultants worked with the teams to “teach” the tool a core technology or legal concept, and then tease out the tolerances to find documents which were similar (conceptually) within a set percentage from the target item. This permitted us to identify and pull out large groups of privileged and irrelevant documents which would otherwise have required a page by page, linear, bilingual review. It also permitted group identification of those documents which were relevant and which needed to be produced.

Finally, the “learning” of concepts used in the review of the client’s documents were saved, and were run again across the opponent’s documents, identifying documents on the same technologies, regardless of what terms and which languages were used in the target documents.

All of the tools were available through an internet portal, permitting team members to log in at any time, from any place.

The Result

The review was completed by the team of eight reviewers within sixty days.

To the law firm’s delight, at the time they made their initial production of data, the defendant’s counsel admitted that their team would miss the deadline completely. In fact, the defendants were unable to commit to any specific ESI production deadline, as they had yet to solve the problem of their client’s proprietary Korean email system. They had not figured out how to extract the emails from the foreign system, let alone how to review them.

Looking for eDiscovery Tools for Efficient and Effective Solutions?

If you have a case where electronic document discovery threatens to overwhelm you and your clients, know that the eDiscovery experts are dedicated to seeking out efficient and effective solutions while keeping costs down. These are but two of the types of situations we conquer every day. Call or email our plaintiff electronic discovery firm ILS for a free consultation and to learn how we can reduce the costs of review of defense production and solve other plaintiff electronic data discovery issues in your unique case.

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