I’ve heard stories like this from attorneys and paralegals more than once: opposing counsel sends a large production of documents in a single PDF. I’ve even heard a version where the production was sent with all of the emails in one PDF, the email attachments in a second PDF, and none of the metadata was sent at all.
Obviously, the solution for managing something like this isn’t a wild conglomeration of monitors stacked up in the attempt to give reviewers a clear view of everything in that never-ending PDF (plus, as this week’s eDiscovery Blues™ comic reminds us, it’s a fire hazard).
So what can you do?
Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) establishes the guidelines for producing Electronically Stored Information (ESI). It states that productions must be put into “a reasonably usable form,” and that the requesting party:
- Must describe with reasonable particularity each item or category of items to be inspected;
- Must specify a reasonable time, place, and manner for the inspection and for performing the related acts; and
- May specify the form or forms in which electronically stored information is to be produced.
In other words, “To get what you want, you have to ask for it.”
Use this eDiscovery Production Checklist to ensure productions are better than “reasonably usable” every time.
eDiscovery Production Format Checklist:
⇒ Documents should be produced as black & white TIFF images at 300 dpi named with the unique Bates number for that page.
⇒ ESI that cannot render to useable TIFF images (e.g. Spreadsheets, Presentations, Video files, Audio files, etc.) should be produced in native format, named with a unique Bates number and corresponding Bates-numbered TIFF image placeholder.
⇒ Scanned paper documents should be produced with logical unitization (i.e. distinct documents should not be merged into a single record, and single documents should not be split into multiple records).
⇒ Extracted text for all non-redacted electronic files containing searchable text should be produced, and all non-searchable or redacted files should be OCR’d. Native files should contain the text of the document and not the OCR version of the TIFF image placeholder.
⇒ Produced documents, images, and placeholders should include sequential Bates numbering, with prefixes consistent throughout all documents.
⇒ Extracted metadata should be produced, including the following fields:
||The unique document number associated with the first page of a document.
||The unique document number associated with the last page of a document.
||The unique beginning document number of the parent document
||Bates number of first family member (parent)
||Bates number of last family member
||Bates number listing of all attachments in the family separated by a comma
||Page count for a document.
||The custodian of a document (if applicable).
||Full email address of Sender
||Full email address of Recipient(s) separated by semicolon
||Full email address of Carbon copy recipient(s) separated by semi colon
||Full email address of Blind carbon copy recipient(s) separated by semi colon
||The date and time a document was sent (UTC).
||The date and time a document was received (UTC).
||Meeting start date/time in UTC
||Meeting end date/time in UTC
||Original File Path
||The display name of the author of a document
||The file name of a document.
||The file extension of a document.
||The file size of a document (including embedded attachments).
||Email Subject or Efile Title
||The date and time a document was created (UTC).
||The date and time the document was last modified (UTC).
||The MD5 Hash value for the email including attachments.
||The full path to a native copy of a document (if applicable).
||The full path to the text file of the document.
||The protective order designation (if any) assigned to the document
⇒ For paper documents, produce the following objective coding fields:
- Beginning Bates number
- Ending Bates number
- Beginning attachment Bates number
- Ending attachment Bates number
⇒ Work with your eDiscovery Technology Vendor to ensure the highest quality productions