Enduring Tedium: The Future of Fights Over Electronically Stored Information

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By Sean F. Herrmann

“Seeking justice often involves enduring tedium.” It’s fitting that North Carolina’s first substantive legal decision on eDiscovery begins with this pithy observation. Employment litigators often lament the virtual hellscape of discovering electronically stored information (“ESI”). But the era when paper was king is long dead, and the fight is now firmly in the cyber world of custodians, native formats, and keyword searches.

For those in federal court, at least rules and precedent exist to help guide them through the dark ESI forest (especially those that find themselves before Chief Judge Frank Whitney in the Western District of North Carolina). North Carolina state court practitioners haven’t been so lucky. That is until this week. On Aug. 6, 2019, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued its first substantive decision on ESI in Crosmun v. Trustees of Fayetteville Technical Cmty. Coll. (No. COA18-1054). Judge Lucy Inman, who authored the opinion, put it well: “This appeal presents this Court with our first opportunity to address the contours of eDiscovery within the context of North Carolina common and statutory law regarding the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine.” The Court ultimately reversed the trial court’s order granting Plaintiffs’ forensic expert direct access to Defendants’ ESI, but the way the Court got there and its recommendations on remand are far more important than the holding itself.

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The Dark Side of Instant Messaging for Business

By Kevin J. Stanfield

How do companies balance the efficiencies of instant messaging with potential legal risks? Instant messaging applications are increasingly present in today’s corporate world and a popular form of communications both internally, between company employees, and externally with clients and partner organizations. The days of face-to-face meetings between managers and employees in conference rooms or popping into someone’s office to discuss a project are no longer the norm. Today, many modern employees are using instant messaging (“IM”) as a “virtual water cooler” or “virtual conference room” to collaborate and share information and files with co-workers and customers in real time, using platforms such as Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google’s Hangouts.

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Checking In: July 26, 2019

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Domestic litigation firm Cordell & Cordell has recently hired attorney A. Allister Cooper to join its office in Wilmington. Cooper’s practice focuses on both family law and employment law. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Juris Doctorate from the Charlotte School of Law.

 

 

 

Joseph DelPapa returns to Ward and Smith’s Raleigh office, where his practice will focus on securities, tax and transactional law. DelPapa has previously served as fractional general counsel for several companies as well as worked as a certified public accountant. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, summa cum laude, from North Carolina State University as well as a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Florida.

 

 

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