Evidence Destruction Trial Preserved Emails For Thousands of Class Action Participants
In the early stages of a class action, Richard and his legal team sought and obtained a customized Evidence Preservation Order from the federal court handling the case. It was soon learned, however, that an error occurred in the insurance company’s tape backup system, caused by an outside vendor, and millions of emails on hundreds of servers began to be overwritten and thus destroyed.
Upon learning of the error and conferring with the lawyers for the insurance company, a preliminary plan was put into place to stop the destruction and for a joint investigation and report to the court. But the insurer breached the deal and Richard and his team made an extensive report and motion to the court, seeking a court-sponsored investigation.
The court enlisted Richard and his firm to obtain sworn testimony from the wrongdoers and was essentially deputized by the court to do so. After the results of Rick’s investigation were reported to the court, there were issues remaining as to who was at fault and the remedies to be considered, for the benefit of the proposed class members.
The court ordered a full blow evidentiary hearing, and Richard cross examined insurance company executives and personnel and proffered the testimony of a computer industry expert on backup tape handling and evidence preservation. The court published its findings, and the New York Law Journal ran a front page story reporting on this unique hearing and its many implications in the growing field of electronic discovery. The case was also presented at a national seminar on electronic discovery.