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Apple Recovers Part, But Not All, of its Requested eDiscovery Costs from Samsung – eDiscovery Case Law

Apple won several battles with Samsung, including ultimately being awarded over $1 billion in verdicts, as well as a $2 million sanction for the inadvertent disclosure of its outside counsel firm (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP) commonly known as “patentgate”, but ultimately may have lost the war when the court refused to ban Samsung from selling products that were found to have infringed on Apple products.  Now, they’re fighting over relative chicken-feed in terms of a few million that Apple sought to recover in eDiscovery costs.

On December 5, 2013, Apple submitted its Bill of Costs seeking a total of over $6.2 million in three categories of taxable costs: “printed or electronically recorded transcripts;” “exemplification and the costs of making copies;” and “[c]ompensation of interpreters.” Samsung filed objections on January 24 of this year. Apple then filed an Amended Bill of Costs on February 6, 2014, waiving and withdrawing certain costs, including the costs related to its sanctions motion against Samsung. Apple’s Amended Bill of Costs sought a total of nearly $5.9 million in costs (of which, nearly $1.5 million related to eDiscovery costs).  Yet, on February 20, Samsung again filed objections.

On June 6, the Clerk taxed costs in the amount of $2,064,940.55, disallowing: $193,884.17 in transcript costs $3,346,652.74 in costs for exemplification and copies and $282,500 in compensation of interpreters.  Both parties sought judicial review of the Clerk’s assessment with Apple requesting that the Court increase the costs award to the full amount requested in their Amended Bill of Costs and Samsung making multiple arguments against the assessment of costs, including the fact that they were appealing the award, Apple only received a partial recovery and that millions of dollars requested were either untaxable or unjustified.

California District Judge Lucy H. Koh found that there was “no basis to defer a decision on the bill of costs pending Samsung’s appeal” and also concluded that Apple is the prevailing party because “[t]he large jury damages award in favor of Apple clearly “materially alter[ed] the legal relationship between the parties” in this case. Moreover, Samsung did not prevail on any of its counterclaims.”

With regard to the eDiscovery costs, Samsung argued that 1) Apple failed to prove that these costs were the functional equivalent of making copies and not costs for intellectual effect, 2) Apple’s documentation failed to prove whether the costs requested are tied to documents actually produced to Samsung and 3) Apple’s “extremely high per page e-discovery rate is excessive and therefore impermissible.”

Judge Koh focused in on the second argument, stating that “it is somewhat unclear from Apple’s documentation of its e-discovery costs whether and to what extent Apple’s claimed costs cover only the costs of documents produced to Samsung. However, in the briefing on the parties’ Cross-Motions, Apple acknowledges that many of its claimed e-discovery costs relate to documents not produced to Samsung.”  As a result, she ruled that “Using Apple’s own figures, Apple estimates that it uploaded a total of 18,264,712 pages of which 2,944,467 pages were ultimately produced…Based on this, the Court calculates that approximately 16.12% of Apple’s e-discovery costs were spent on documents produced to Samsung. The Court will therefore award Apple e-discovery costs in the amount of $238,102.66.” [emphasis added]

The awarded eDiscovery costs were part of an overall award to Apple of nearly $1.9 million.

So, what do you think?  Should the eDiscovery portion of the award have been limited to documents Apple produced?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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