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End of the Road: GN Netcom Inc. and Plantronics Settle Eight-Year Litigation Saga Beset by E-Discovery Sanctions

Author: Scott J. Etish – Gibbons E-Discovery Law Alert

…This case is noteworthy as to e-discovery because of the severe sanctions of $3,000,000 and an adverse inference jury instruction entered by the District Court against Plantronics in 2016 pursuant to then recently amended Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e)…
…Don Houston, a former executive of the company, “double-deleted” thousands of his own relevant emails despite the existence of a legal hold. Mr. Houston also directed other employees of the company to delete relevant emails…
…Third Circuit granted a motion for a new trial based on the District Court’s refusal to allow the testimony of GN Netcom’s e-discovery expert regarding the significance of Plantronic’s spoliation of ESI…

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Editor Comment:

Sanctions and adverse inference rulings are far too rare in my opinion. That is because far too often opposing productions are not scrutinized and compared against your own collections. Too few counsel run the metrics of key witnesses and wonder why their email counts suddenly dropped or vanished during the critical time frame. Lawyers should practice law and stay focused on evidence and merits of a matter. That means they need a motivated geek in their corner who has been charged with verifying the scope, tools and custodial compliance of productions outbound and inbound. I know a few geek lawyers who can play both roles. They are rare creatures and frequently seen on conference panels with yours truly when I am lucky. I have given up using risk/sanction arguments to justify client investments in mature eDiscovery solutions. Instead I now focus exclusively on cost savings and write ROI after reports. More $3M sanctions and judgment reversals might justify all those email archiving sales I closed for Symantec. Got any more recent eDiscovery sanctions? Share them!

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