Through the appointment of a special master, parties can efficiently resolve disputes relating to electronic evidence. Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that with consent of the parties a court may appoint a master either to address an exceptional condition or pretrial matters that an available judge cannot effectively and timely address. Many state court rules contain similar provisions. A special master can assist parties in exploring cost-saving alternatives to resolve disputes when parties cannot agree to a resolution, and ELIJAH’s special masters have the skill and temperament to effectively fulfill that role.
Retention of an eNeutral can facilitate potentially intractable disputes regarding discovery of electronically stored information. Although not having the same judicial authority special masters, eNeutrals can work with the parties to help establish ESI protocols, mediate eDiscovery disputes and facilitate issues relating to confidential and privileged materials. An eNeutral also can facilitate the review and production of materials on a single hosting platform, often resulting in tremendous savings versus each party maintaining separate platforms.
The Seventh Circuit eDiscovery Pilot Program has formalized a role that ELIJAH has been fulfilling for years – the eDiscovery Liaison. The Pilot Program dictates that in the event of disputes over ESI, the parties to the litigation each designate an eDiscovery Liaison for the purpose of meeting, conferring and attending court hearings regarding electronic discovery issues.
An eDiscovery Liaison should be prepared to:
- Participate in the eDiscovery dispute resolution process
- Obtain reasonable access to those familiar with the party’s electronic systems and capabilities so they can explain and answer questions regarding them
- Gain the knowledge with regard to the party’s eDiscovery efforts
- Be knowledgeable about the technical aspects of eDiscovery including electronic document storage, organization format issues, retrieval
Even if you are not involved in litigation subject to rules of the eDiscovery Pilot Program, employing an eDiscovery liaison can improve efficiency and facilitate the discovery process.