Perhaps no discovery order has been so widely covered (including by this blog) or deeply analyzed as Judge Peck’s order endorsing predictive coding in the Da Silva Moore case. In the latest turn, plaintiffs have filed a Reply in support of the objection to Judge Peck’s predictive coding ruling.
From the outset, there was a noticeable undertone of animosity towards Judge Peck running throughout the Reply. Plaintiffs took the opportunity to play up the connection between Judge Peck and defense counsel Ralph Losey (who is also regarded as a thought leader in the eDiscovery industry and is the author of a widely disseminated blog among other things), and to a lesser extent Recommind, the software vendor whose computer assisted review platform will potentially be used in this matter. Plaintiffs dedicate the first two pages (out of 14 total, and only 11 of which address the predictive coding dispute) to the recent professional relationship between Judge Peck and Mr. Losey, which has focused on the endorsement and discussion of predictive coding at various industry events around the country.
Asking “that the court reject MSL’s use of predictive coding and require the parties come up with a new ESI Protocol,” plaintiffs warn that “Judge Peck sets a dangerous precedent that is likely to deter future litigants from even considering predictive coding, lest they be bound by a protocol that contains no measure of reliability.” Obviously, counsel is trying to persuade the court here (which I can certainly appreciate), but I strongly disagree with this point. As I recently discussed in a blog titled: You Cannot Unring a Bell – Judge Peck’s Da Silva Moore Opinion Will Continue to Be Influential Despite Objection (http://ediscoverynewssource.blogspot.com/2012/03/you-cannot-unring-bell-judge-pecks-da.html), regardless of the outcome of this particular objection, predictive coding will continue to be a hot topic, and litigants will use it to the extent it makes fiscal sense and produces reasonable results.
Interestingly, plaintiffs cite Kleen Prods., LLC v. Packaging Corp. of Am., No. 10 C 5711 (N.D. Ill) in support of their arguments. Kleen is the case where plaintiffs have asked Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan to order defendants to use predictive coding. Plaintiffs in the Da Silva Moore matter hold Judge Nolan’s decision to require full briefing, expert reports, and evidentiary hearing on the use of predictive coding in high regard when contrasted with Judge Peck’s relatively quick process and decision. Arguing “in his rush to be the first in line to approve predictive coding, Judge Peck did not elicit expert testimony or give the parties an opportunity to question or cross-examine the experts.”
The outcome of the Da Silva Moore predictive coding dispute is now squarely in the hands of Judge Andrew Carter, and this blog will do its best to provide further updates as they arise.
As an aside, plaintiff also made the same argument, that this blog raised in its inaugural post: Peck and Choose (http://ediscoverynewssource.blogspot.com/2012/03/peck-and-choose.html), regarding Judge Peck’s deference to French Privacy Law, stating that “Judge Peck failed to engage in the required comity analysis, under which the vast majority of U.S. precedents have found that French law does not preempt discovery.” It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this issue is as the matter proceeds.