Law.com: Hit "Delete" to Prevent EDD Disaster

Overview

The volume of e-discovery and its costs continue to rise for corporations, law firms and even solo attorneys. This phenomena has triggered a plethora of articles on the pitfalls and potential problems in EDD for the uninitiated or unaware. Frequently missing from the discussion, however, is practical experience and analysis from the trenches. This article addresses key EDD issues and pitfalls in a particular case involving 44 million pages of electronic records and a jury verdict of approximately $570 million, with a focus on the consequences of retaining too much electronic information and ways to solve problems that plague large companies in e-discovery.

Background
Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP represented Gary Michelson, M.D., a spine surgeon and prolific inventor, with hundreds of patents and patent applications worldwide, primarily in the field of spinal fixation and surgical implants, instruments and methods. Our adversary, Medtronic Sofamor Danek Inc., a subsidiary of Medtronic Inc., manufactures and markets medical devices used to treat spinal conditions. In May 2001, Medtronic sued Dr. Michelson, alleging that he had breached certain contracts from 1994 that Medtronic claimed gave it rights to virtually everything Dr. Michelson invented in the field, even new inventions conceived after the 1994 contracts. Dr. Michelson counterclaimed that Medtronic wrongfully claimed rights to more than it was entitled to under the contracts, infringed certain patents on inventions not covered by the contracts and breached the contracts in a variety of ways, including failing to pay royalties and failing to provide proper patent marking and name attribution on the products and literature that incorporated the Michelson technology.

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