Seminar Helps Organizations Manage Electronic Data Risk — 2nd Annual E-Discovery and Beyond Set for New York, March 31st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Ashley Flynn ARMA International
913.312.5561, aflynn@arma.org  

Judges are getting tougher every day and are far less likely to listen to what they regard as feeble explanations for mishandling of electronically stored information. In response to this, those who are responsible for the electronically stored information in an organization, the legal, RIM, IT and compliance teams must work together to protect the information.  

ARMA International’s 2nd Annual E-Discovery and Beyond Seminar: Manage Your Electronic Data Risk, is a two day, interactive event being held March 31-April 1, 2008 in New York City at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The seminar is specifically designed for those who manage information, and to educate attendees on how to use the tools and processes needed to reduce risk while becoming more competitive and compliant as an organization.

Sessions will feature experts in the legal, records and information, and IT fields covering hot topics such as legal holds, risk management, ethics, and more. They will also demonstrate how to align efforts to create a successful discovery process within an organization for effective day-to-day business. 

For the E-Discovery and Beyond seminar, ARMA International is pleased to have the assistance of the following corporate sponsors: CA, FTI Consulting, IBM, LexisNexis Applied Discovery, NextPage, and TAB. The association partner is the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) and the luncheon will be provided by HP Invent/Clearwell.

For more information and to register for E-Discovery and Beyond visit www.arma.org/ediscovery. Registration is $995 for ARMA International members and $1195 for non-members.

About ARMA International
ARMA International (www.arma.org) is a not-for-profit professional association and the authority on managing records and information. Formed in 1955, ARMA International is the oldest and largest association for the records and information management profession with a current international membership of more than 10,000. It provides education, publications, and information on the efficient maintenance, retrieval, and preservation of vital information created in public and private organizations in all sectors of the economy. It also publishes the award-winning Information Management Journal.

White House Admits Recycling Tapes, Hedges on Missing E-Mail

By Chris Maxcer
E-Commerce Times
Part of the ECT News Network  

Conflict is igniting over official White House e-mails that some say have gone missing, though the Bush administration has officially denied that there is any reason to believe any have been lost. Others contend that the White House is well aware that e-mail for some executive offices of the President was not archived for up to 473 days. Rep. Henry Waxman has called for a hearing.

There are conflicting reports coming out of Washington surrounding missing White House e-mails as well as conflicting statements coming from the White House press room. A hearing has been scheduled by Democratic Calif. Rep. Henry Waxman to investigate comments from White House spokesperson Tony Fratto asserting that he had no reason to believe any e-mails are missing.

Meanwhile, a White House chart that was used behind closed doors reportedly showed that e-mail  for some executive offices of the President was not archived on 473 days.

The public learned of the chart when it was noted in a White House declaration filed Tuesday in response to lawsuits started by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the National Security Archive, an independent, non-government research organization. In this case, Magistrate Judge John Facciola issued an order earlier this month that required the White House to answer four questions concerning back-up copies of the millions of e-mails apparently missing from White House servers.

In addition, the court-ordered declaration revealed that the White House routinely recycled its backup tapes of e-mail before October 2003, which means that e-mails between White House officials surrounding possible discussions about leaking a CIA officer’s identity to reporters may be forever erased.

For more see Tech News World.

Football player files missing – Fingers point to Rodriguez

By Dave Hickman
Staff writer

MORGANTOWN ­- West Virginia officials are wondering if assistant coaches aren’t all that Rich Rodriguez took with him to Michigan. They believe he may also have destroyed all or most of the paperwork files relating to every player on the current Mountaineer roster and virtually all of the activities conducted by the program over the past seven years.

Soon after returning to work after the Fiesta Bowl a little more than a week ago, the staff at the Puskar Center found that most of the files ­ including all of the player files ­ that had been stored in Rodriguez’s private office were missing. In addition, all of the players’ strength and conditioning files in the weight room were gone.

“It’s unbelievable. Everything is gone, like it never existed,” said a source within the athletic department, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Good, bad or indifferent, we don’t have a record of anything that has happened.”

According to the source, the files in Rodriguez’s office that are now missing included everything from records regarding summer camps ­ financial and otherwise ­ to data on boosters, recruiting and most everything related to activities within the program during Rodriguez’s seven years at WVU.

Most disturbing, though, is the absence of all of the players’ personal files, which included, among other things, contact information, scholarship money awarded, class attendance records and records on personal conduct and community service, be it positive or negative.

“If a player spoke to a school or did public service, we don’t have a record of it,” said the source. “If he broke a rule or missed class, we don’t have a record of that, either. We don’t have anything. All the good things these kids have done over the years, there’s nothing ­ not a picture of somebody speaking to a class, nothing. Why would somebody do that?”

West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong did not return a message seeking comment Monday night. Neither could Rodriguez be reached for comment.

The files went missing sometime between when Rodriguez resigned on Dec. 16 and the time the team and staff returned from the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. It could have happened as early as the first days following Rodriguez’s resignation because his old office was largely ignored by the support staff and the coaching staff between the time he left and Dec. 26, when the team and support staff all went to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl.

According to multiple sources, several people in the Puskar Center reported seeing Rodriguez and at least one member of his inner circle, video coordinator Dusty Rutledge, in Rodriguez’s private office shredding paperwork on Dec. 18.

That’s the day he returned to clean out his office after being introduced as the Michigan coach at a press conference in Ann Arbor the day before. At the time, those who say they witnessed it either did not know what was being destroyed or paid it little attention to it until the files were discovered missing more than two weeks later.

While the files in Rodriguez’s office held a wide range of information, those that were discovered missing from the weight room office were more specific.

Those included every aspect of strength and conditioning progress made by players under former strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Barwis, who along with most of his immediate staff followed Rodriguez to Michigan after the Fiesta Bowl. Those files included the progression made by each player in every specific area, from bench-press totals to 40-yard dash times. The files even included pictures of the players at different points in their careers.

While a source within the athletic department said the department itself wasn’t launching any type of investigation into the missing files ­ “Our plate is pretty full right now with trying to put together a staff and everything else,” the source said, “and we don’t have time to deal with [stuff] like this right now.” ­ it has apparently drawn the interest of the university’s legal counsel.

WVU lawyers are in the process of trying to recover $4 million from Rodriguez as a condition of breaking his contract with six years remaining to become the coach at Michigan. While Rodriguez has maintained that West Virginia breached the contract by not fulfilling all of its terms ­ an argument the university denies ­ the school filed suit in Monongalia County Circuit Court last month detailing what it claims are breaches by Rodriguez above and beyond simply breaking the contract. Those include calling recruits to tell them of his decision to switch schools before he told his own team. It certainly would not help Rodriguez’s case if the school can prove that he also destroyed what WVU officials consider state files on his way out.

Data Loss Prevention Trends To Watch In 2008

By Stefanie Hoffman, CMP Channel

No doubt about it, 2007 was the year that high profile data breaches splashed across the front pages with as much sensation as paint on a Jackson Pollock canvas. TJX kicked off 2007 with the largest data breach in history — a whopping 45.7 million records lifted when hackers infiltrated the company’s network over a period of 18 months. And other large-scale losses, such as a phishing scam at a military research lab and the misplacement of two unencrypted U.K government disks — followed in its wake.

Experts say this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since January 2005, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has identified more than 215 million records belonging to U.S. residents that have been compromised due to a security breach.

The costs of these and other breaches have weighed heavily on the organizations that are impacted. A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute determined that the total average costs for lost or exposed data grew to $197 per compromised record, representing an increase of 8 percent since 2006 and 43 percent since 2005. Currently, the average total cost for companies is more than $6.3 million per breach, which accounts for increased legal and public relations costs as well as lost business. And experts warn that the amount of lost revenue a company experiences in the wake of a data breach will only continue to grow.

For the rest of this story see Chanel Web Network.

Judge Sanctions 6 Qualcomm Lawyers

By DON CLARK

A federal magistrate issued sanctions against six Qualcomm Inc. attorneys for mishandling evidence in a high-stakes patent case against Broadcom Corp.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara Major referred the conduct of the six lawyers to the California State Bar Association for an investigation of possible ethical violations. She decided not to sanction 13 other Qualcomm attorneys involved in the case.

Judge Major also issued an $8.5 million judgment against Qualcomm, though that ruling actually carries no cost to the company. Another federal judge had already ordered Qualcomm to pay Broadcom that amount to cover attorney’s fees, and the judge ruled that no additional monetary penalty was necessary because the original penalty was so large.

Five in-house Qualcomm attorneys were ordered to take part in a “comprehensive” review of the company’s procedures and obligations associated with producing evidence.

The case and its aftermath were a hot topic in the legal community after the discovery that Qualcomm had failed to produce thousands of pages of documents that had been requested by Broadcom.

Qualcomm, a San Diego chip maker, had originally sued Broadcom in October 2005 for allegedly infringing two patents on video-compression technology. One of Broadcom’s defenses to the allegations was that Qualcomm violated an obligation to disclose its patents to an industry committee setting standards on the technology. Qualcomm insisted that it hadn’t participated in the group.

During the final days of trial, a senior Qualcomm engineer disclosed that she had emails related to the group that hadn’t been turned over to Broadcom. Following the trial, which Qualcomm lost, thousands more documents were discovered; Qualcomm’s general counsel apologized for what happened and later resigned.

Judge Major ordered 19 Qualcomm lawyers to appear at a hearing in October to defend their actions. That task was complicated by the fact that communication between the lawyers and Qualcomm was protected by confidentiality rules, and so was not released. The lawyers issued declarations explaining their actions and insisting that they had no intention of deliberately withholding evidence.

But the judge concluded that their declarations and other evidence lead to “the inevitable conclusion that Qualcomm intentionally withheld tens of thousands of decisive documents from its opponent in an effort to win this case and gain a strategic business advantage over Broadcom,” according to 48-page order released late yesterday.

“Qualcomm could not have achieved this goal without some type of assistance or deliberate ignorance from its retained attorneys,” she added.

Broadcom declined to comment. A Qualcomm spokeswoman said the company regrets the errors that occurred in the case, but said its actions after the errors were found “defy any suggestion that Qualcomm engaged in intentional misconduct. We are considering our options, including further appeal.”

Pressure Mounts as More Corporate Clients Favor Flat Rates over Billing by the Hour

We have heard the battle cry before, and the wires are abuzz again about having law firms abandon the billable hour, according to Slate.

Though few companies openly discuss alternative billing arrangements, there is ample evidence to show that alternative billing is overwhelmingly favored over the hourly rate model.  Companies favor flat fees and discounts for volume legal work to control costs and more succinctly forecast legal spending.  Most critically, perhaps, a fixed rate model engenders risk sharing and trusting relationships.

Chief legal officers under pressure to lower overhead cannot treat litigation engagement costs as a wild-card on the balance sheet any longer.  Chief executives expect law departments, most of which include compliance and records management on the portfolio, to have strategic plans and budgets. The use of alternative fees and availability of collaborative technology, make litigation expenses more predictable than ever before.

Notwithstanding these benefits, the economics of supply and demand will ensure that not all legal engagements end up with a fixed fee billing standard any time soon. Top dollar lawyers and firms who offer specialized legal work will continue to find a line at the door of clients willing to pay top hourly rates. 

Managing Ethics in E-Discovery

David G. Keyko
New York Law Journal
January 3, 2008

Cases like Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., S.D. Cal. 05-cv-1958-B (SLM), have highlighted the dangers to lawyers and their clients of not properly managing electronic discovery. In Qualcomm, during the last day of trial, on cross-examination, a Qualcomm witness revealed the existence of certain unproduced records. After the trial, which Qualcomm lost, Qualcomm produced the records its witness belatedly disclosed, which totaled 200,000 pages.

The court found that the plaintiff’s counsel was involved in the misconduct and concealment, despite the lawyers’ claims that they had been misled by their clients. The court required Qualcomm to pay Broadcom’s litigation costs, which will be millions of dollars, and entered an order to show cause requiring Qualcomm’s attorneys to appear and show cause why sanctions should not be imposed upon them.

Making matters worse for the attorneys, Qualcomm blamed the problem on counsel for not requesting the relevant documents and the court declined to allow the lawyers to introduce litigation records the lawyers asserted evidenced their innocence. Those records were protected by the attorney-client privilege, which the client declined to waive.

In a major document case, it is almost a certainty that some documents not called for will be produced, and some documents that have been requested will be inadvertently overlooked. Qualcomm underscores the necessity of attorneys carefully fulfilling their obligations to collect, review, process and produce information during litigation.

ATTORNEYS SHOULD:

Make sure there is a clear division of responsibility if multiple law firms are involved and between inside and outside counsel. This will limit finger pointing about whose job it was if records are overlooked. The client will probably want an estimate of the costs involved, and that presents a good opportunity to document who will perform what role. If responsibility is given to those who are not attorneys, the lay people should be supervised carefully by counsel.

For more see law.com.