Tag Archives: eClassics

eClassics: e-Discovery LOL: “YCDBSOYA!”

Back to the Vault for a reminder of what’s really important this Thanksgiving.  All the best!


This is a tribute to my dad, who passed about 18 years ago.  Without his guidance, who knows where I might have ended up?

What you’re looking at is his tie-clip and cuff link set that I cherish greatly, especially in tough economic times like these.  I haven’t posted as often nor as robustly as I would like lately, and this is the reason.  To a certain extent, you can do business by phone, email or through the internet, but ultimately, “You Can’t Do Business Sitting On Your Ass!”

eClassics: The Midnight Ride of Sarah Palin

Colonial Palin

Another one from ‘the vault’ to celebrate the silly season of politics. A lot of people missed the apolitical point of this post, which was that it was all just a tempest in a teapot:

Listen my children to a tale in error
Of the midnight ride of Palin, Sarah
On the tenth of June, in Twenty-eleven;
Many a reporter is now in heaven
Who remembers that famous day and year.

She said to her friend, “If the Alaskans power
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry tower
Of the North Church arch as a signal light,–
One if by ‘Times, and two if by ‘Post;
And I on the opposite shore will at most,
Be ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Juneau village and farm,
That the lamestream-press means to do me harm!”

Then she said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently steered to the New Hampshire shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her RV lay
The NY Times, American man-of-war;
A phantom Grey Lady, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, her friends through alley and street
Wandered and watched, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around her she hears
The muster of newsmen at the office door,
The sound of typing, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the cop-iers,
Marching down to their presses on the shore.

Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That she could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it fell
Creeping along from dell to dell,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only she feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
For suddenly all her thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of six boxes that bends and floats
Of 24,199 e-Mails like a bridge of boats.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in her flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
She has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath her, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of her steed as she rides.

It was 9 am by the village clock,
When she came to the bridge in Juneau town.
She heard the bleating of the flock,
And the Twitter of Droids among the trees,
And felt the breath of the Daily Breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.

You know the rest. In the papers you have read…

So through the night rode Sarah Palin;
And so through the night went her cry of alarm
To every Juneau village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to wailin’
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the e-Mail message of Sarah Palin.

1st Things 1st: The Litigation Hold Letter (A Blast from the Past)

J0309498 All – as part of my ‘repairs’, I’ve looked at some of the blog logs (say that 3x fast) and since this item was posted over six years ago, it’s still ranked as #1 on the site!  So, it seemed like this was the perfect opportunity to republish it.  The letter itself is slightly updated, but the post is reproduced verbatim:

Wow…this is my 100th post!  Who knew I could pontificate this long?

In analyzing the new California Electronic Discovery Act (I’m going to start calling it “CEDA” for short), I might as well start at the beginning.

The first thing that will occur if litigation arises?  There’ll be a bunch of litigation hold letters going around.  I say a bunch because it could manifest several ways; outside counsel to your adversary, outside counsel to inside counsel, inside counsel to the enterprise, the CIO/CTO to the IT department, the CEO to the CIO/CTO…you get the idea.  In some cases, as illustrated above, the letter may not even be coming from an attorney.

What might the letter look like?  Here’s an example of a litigation hold letter theoretically issued from outside counsel to an adversary (in PDF format).  The names were changed to protect the innocent (and the guilty, for that matter).

This is only a sample to give you an idea of what a letter of this kind might look like.  The purpose is to illustrate items you may or may not have thought about.  Like snowflakes, no two letters will ever be exactly the same.  Only a professional with personal knowledge of your specific requirements should ever create and/or issue a litigation hold letter.

Enough disclaimers?  Ok then…chew on this for a Monday.

Back to the Future – Reebok v. Tristar, 1996 (the “Jerry Maguire” case)

*** NOTE – No privileged or proprietary information is contained in this post. ***

Movie Reel

My first foray into the realm of e-discovery occurred in early 1997 – when it was still just called “discovery”.  I was a Consultant to Sony Pictures Entertainment at the time and Manager of Groupware Services Worldwide, which – unfortunately for me – included responsibility for the company email system.  I was not yet an attorney.

(I have a feeling most of you know where this is going…).

In late, 1996, Reebok Int’l filed suit against Tristar Pictures (at the time a subdivision of SPE) for breach of contract due to the handling of a product placement in the movie, “Jerry Maguire“.  Reebok’s attorneys issued a subpoena for relevant email correspondence between Tristar representatives who were parties to the negotiations.

We faced a serious problem, which was not an unusual one given the time elapsed between negotiations to make a motion picture and the actual production and release of that picture.  The emails were several years old and the Company had done away with the archaic tape backup system used at the time.

A consultant’s job is to find a reasonable method to deliver what a client requests.  As such, I tasked one of our best number-crunchers to figure out what it would realistically take to re-create the prior backup system from scratch, then catalog all of the old tapes to
even give us a starting point as to what would be required for review and production.  Keep in mind that this was a much more difficult feat to accomplish in 1997 than it is today.  The results were striking.  The estimated cost to comply with the subpoena was approximately $250,000!Movie Reel and Film

Obviously, management wasn’t too keen on the idea of spending that sum of money, and thus began a motion by Tristar’s representatives to quash the subpoena due to the high cost, or failing that, shift the burden – or at least a large portion of it – onto the Plaintiff.  Being on the tech side of things – and with a stack of responsibilities on my desk – I moved on to the next “crisis” and have no knowledge as to what specifically transpired after that.  Eventually, the word came down from on high; “you don’t have to worry about producing the data”.  Whew!

I wanted to relay this story because it mirrors exactly how an e-discovery request might fall upon an IT department today.  It also raises several of the most important issues:

Are we able to comply with the request?  How much time/resources will this take away from our other pressing issues?  How much will this cost?  Who will bear the cost?

Luckily, I had at my disposal the qualified brainpower to comply – and had we been asked to proceed, we could have done so.  But it would also have meant taking one of my best minds away from what he was doing, leaving me short-handed with the prospect of making do without him or hiring a temporary replacement and bringing him/her “up to speed”.

The question is, what would happen if you received the request?