eDiscovery Daily Blog

New eDiscovery Guidelines for Northern District of California – eDiscovery Trends

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has announced new Guidelines for counsel and litigants regarding the discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”) effective as of last Tuesday (November 27). The Guidelines were developed by a bench-bar committee chaired by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte in partnership with the Court’s Rules Committee and unanimously approved by the entire Court.

As stated in the announcement: “Counsel and litigants should familiarize themselves with the Guidelines and immediately begin using the revised Standing Order for All Judges of the Northern District of California when preparing case management statements and the Checklist as appropriate when meeting and conferring.”

As noted in the announcement, in addition to the Standing Order noted above, the package of new ESI-related documents is comprised of:

In the announcement, Judge Laporte stated: “These tools are designed to promote cooperative e-discovery planning as soon as practicable that is tailored and proportionate to the needs of the particular case to achieve its just, speedy and inexpensive resolution, consistent with Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure… The Court requires counsel to be familiar with these tools and confirm in the initial case management statement that they have reviewed the Guidelines regarding preservation and decided whether to enter into a stipulated order governing e-discovery, in light of the Model Stipulated Order.”

To confirm that familiarity and understanding by counsel, paragraph 6 of the Standing Order requires that all Joint Case Management Statements include:

“A brief report certifying that the parties have reviewed the Guidelines Relating to the Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (“ESI Guidelines”), and confirming that the parties have met and conferred pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(f) regarding reasonable and proportionate steps taken to preserve evidence relevant to the issues reasonably evident in this action.”

As noted in this blog previously, other courts, such as the Southern District of New York (pilot program) and the Eastern District of Texas (for patent cases) have implemented standards for handling ESI, at least in certain situations.

So, what do you think?  Should all District courts adopt similar standards and provide similar guidelines and checklists?  If not, why not?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

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