The Sedona Conference released the 2014 edition of its Database Principles this week for public comment. Databases are a unique entity in the world of e-discovery because, unlike more common emails and documents (unstructured data), databases contain structured data, and usually massive amounts of it.
The principles clearly set out how databases differ from more traditional information, including an easy to understand example about storing an invoice in a database.
Due to their unique structure, preserving, collecting and producing information from databases requires more planning and a different approach than is needed with emails and documents. In a ruling last year that we blogged about in January (see Databases – Not the e-Discovery Nightmare Everyone Assumes), the B.C. Court helped to define the way information from databases can be assembled and produced. In that case, the Court found that producing a subset of database information using a query was not lawyer work product and should be considered to be in the normal course of business.
The Sedona Conference continues to produce well researched and helpful guides and principles related to e-discovery. This newest set of principles should be on every lawyer’s electronic bookshelf.
Now that summer is over, our clients have turned their minds to the information gathering stage on a number of projects. We have spent much of September conducting custodian interviews for everything from information governance and litigation readiness projects to the collection stage of e-discovery projects. As part of that process, we have noticed a trend – there is often some confusion as to whether lawyers, clerks or IT professionals are best suited to conduct these interviews. Like much in the legal world, the answer is: it depends.
In many cases, the lawyer with carriage will have the most substantive knowledge of the matter and thus, be the best person to do the interviews. However, where there are technical issues, the input of an IT professional may be necessary. A melding of legal and IT expertise is often needed, particularly when it comes to understanding how records are stored and can be retrieved or to determining what technology tools are best able to manage information.
Wortzmans deals with these issues on a daily basis. If you need the blend of legal and technology expertise, give us a call. We can help you discover, gather and organize information using the best technology.
The Superior Court has sent a strong message to Ontario litigants: The Sedona Canada Principles have teeth. InPalmerston Grain v. Royal Bank of Canada 2014 ONSC 5134, the Court said that the Sedona Canada Principles are incorporated by reference into the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure and that parties must comply with the Principles – “failing to do so is a breach of the Rules”.
This decision is significant for a number of reasons – primarily because it gives the force of the Rules to the Principles. The Court emphasizes that parties shall agree to a discovery plan, which must contain the information described in the Rules. The decision also underscores the importance of collaboration between parties in connection with e-discovery, which is highlighted in the Sedona Canada Principles, particularly Principle 4. Finally, this decision signals the Ontario court’s willingness to consider cost consequences for parties who fail to comply with the Principles.
Ontario’s courts have spoken – parties must collaborate in the discovery process and be guided by Sedona Canada. Failure to do so could be a costly breach of our Rules of Civil Procedure.