Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Less is More?

A recent ruling in the CV Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVTX) securities litigation highlights some of the interesting issues that are filtering through the courts with respect to electronic discovery (e-discovery).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California before Judge Susan Illston.

The parties had previously agreed on the entry of a stipulated order governing the discovery of material restored from defendant's backup tapes. The backup tapes contained approximately 425,000 documents.

Defendants applied a "de-duplication process" to the tapes, which reduced the number of documents to approximately 129,000. Defendants then produced about 4,000 documents. Plaintiffs objected to the de-duplication as well as the withholding of documents.

The defendants argued that it would be unduly burdensome and expensive to produce the remaining 125,000 documents, and asked the magistrate to require plaintiffs to select slightly less than half of the documents.

A virtual treasure trove of court filings from the litigation can be found on the Stanford website, here. Interestingly, Lerach Coughlin's "Designated Internet Site," is nearly bereft of filings from the CV Therapeutics litigation.

Magistrate Edward M. Chen found that de-duplication was an acceptable method of reducing the size of the production and ordered the defendants to apply search terms to narrow the remainder of the production.

A copy of Magistrate Chen's opinion is available here. The case can be cited as In re CV Therapeutics, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2006 WL 2458720 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 22, 2006).

In November 2003, Judge Ilston appointed David Crossen as lead plaintiff and Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (at the time, Milberg, Weiss, Bershad, Hynes & Lerach, LLP) as lead counsel in the CV Therapeutics litigation. A copy of the order appointing lead plaintiff and lead counsel is available here.

A copy of the consolidated amended complaint is available here.

Defense counsel in the case is Latham & Watkins, LLP.

Daily Trivia: Magistrate Chen is the first Asian-American to serve on the bench of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

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