Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The "Brave New World" of E-Discovery

In Waste Services, Inc. v. Waste Management Inc., 2007 WL 1174116 (M.D.Fla 2007), U.S. Magistrate Judge Baker (whose report was adopted by Judge Conway) referenced the new federal rules on electronic-discovery as support for the notion that terms like "paper" in 28 U.S.C. section 1920 ought to be read broadly to include electronically stored information.  I mention the opinion here because I think Magistrate Baker summarizes nicely technology's impact on modern litigation.

Although this particular statute has yet to be amended to reflect the realities of the digital age, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have recently undergone a major revision in this area, and issues of electronic discovery and evidence are being regularly presented to federal courts nationwide. Indeed, technology has led to major changes in the construction and design of courthouses themselves, with courtrooms being fitted with monitors and hardware to accommodate electronic presentation of evidence. It does not escape the Court's attention that the entire docket of this case has been electronically filed, and the briefs are nothing more than PDF files, existing so far as the Court is concerned, only in cyberspace.

Lest you think Magistrate Baker is as obsessed with electronic discovery as I have apparently become, he also cites the statutes of Gloucester and Henry VIII.



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