What is the Form of Production for a Database?


Defendants in a discovery dispute produced data from a timekeeping database as PDF’s.

The Plaintiffs objected, arguing their expert would need to spend 300 to 500 hours converting the PDF’s into a database.

The Defendants countered that it would take a team of three to four people between three to four days to write a script to convert their timekeeping export to a report in a .CVS format, because the system natively exported PDF’s as its reporting feature. Castillon v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17950, 9-10 (D. Idaho Feb. 7, 2014).

So, what is the proper form of production of the data?

The Court explained that the Plaintiffs did not state the form of production in their request. As such, the Defendant had to produce the ESI as it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably useable form pursuant to Rule 34. The Court found that the Defendant had “sufficiently shown that any report or other extraction of data from the Kronos system is natively produced in a searchable .pdf format. Because Defendant has already produced the Kronos data in that format, it is not required to re-produce it in a different form.” Castillon, at *9-10.

The Court further stated that searchable PDF’s is a reasonably useable form that could be “easily searched.” Castillon, at *10.

Bow Tie Thoughts 

The Star Trek fan in me did not at all find it ironic that data from a timekeeping system named Kronos would end up in a discovery dispute, because it is after all the Klingon home world.

Geeks aside, it is very important to think about how you want to review data from a database when drafting a discovery request. What form will best help your expert? Has this issue been discussed at the meet & confer? Since a searchable database would likely  benefit both parties if discussed at the Rule 26(f) conference, would both parties be willing to split the cost of preparing a script?

These issues are best resolved prior to motion practice. Litigation often has surprises such as this one. Finding out the format of database exports is a very important topic to add to a Rule 26(f) conference if you expect a database to be at issue in a case.

Don’t Forget to Produce Email Attachments

Thank You Litigation World! This article won the LitigationWorld Pick of the Week award. The editors of LitigationWorld, a free weekly email newsletter for litigators and others who work in litigation, give this award to one article every week that they feel is a must-read for this audience.litigationworld-800

A defendant law firm in a fee dispute were ordered to produce specific email communications. The law firm produced email messages in PDF format without attachments. The Defendants claimed in a meet and confer they could not produce attachments from the server, but did not explain why. Skepnek v. Roper & Twardowsky, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11894, at *3-4 (D. Kan. Jan. 27, 2014)

LeslieCrystal_Really_EmailIt is never good to have a Judge state, “It is unclear why defendants claim that it is impossible to include every attachment to the produced e-mails but somehow, they are able to produce specific attachments upon request.” Skepnek, at *4.

The Defendants attempted to make the case about the Plaintiffs not stating the form of production in their request.

The Judge did not take the bait and focused on the real issue in the case: the failure to produce the responsive files. Skepnek, at *6.

The Court ordered the production of the attachments, explaining its order as follows:

Defendants offer no excuse for their failure to produce responsive documents except that plaintiffs never requested the documents in native format. Plaintiffs simply want the documents that the court ordered defendants to produce, regardless of format. Because plaintiffs failed to specify a form for producing the electronically stored e-mails and attachments, defendants were required under Rule 34(b)(2)(E)(ii) either to produce the e-mails and attachments in the form (1) in which they are ordinarily maintained, or (2) “in a reasonably usable form.” Defendants failed to produce the attachments at all. Defendants also failed to show PDF format is the form in which their e-mails and attachments are ordinarily maintained.

Skepnek, at *6.

Bow Tie Thoughts

Lawyers often get into trouble with the production of electronically stored information because they do not retain anyone to handle the collection, processing or production of data. Many think their client’s IT staff can somehow “just do it” and avoid the cost of hiring a service provider.

Problem with that logic: You’re doing it wrong.

That is a lot like thinking an auto mechanic charges too much for a break job, so just have your 10 year old do it instead. Since the kid made a great Pinewood Derby car, he should be able to fix the Audi. What could possibly go wrong?

The duty of competency requires lawyers to hire experts to solve technical issues. The collection of ESI and processing are two such areas. Moreover, the technology is constantly advancing. I have watched very impressive product demonstrations of many software applications. Producing email with attachments is something service providers have been doing for over a decade. There are even YouTube videos showing how the technology works. There really is not an excuse from a technological perspective on why email was not produced with attachments in native file format.

The Empire State Strikes Back (On the Form of Production)

In an insurance dispute over coverage, a Plaintiff sought production of electronically stored information in native file AND TIFF format after the Defendant produced discovery in hard-copy format. The Defendant opposed re-producing in native file format and sought cost-shifting if required to produce natively. Mancino v Fingar Ins. Agency, 2014 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 30 (N.Y. Misc. 2014).

EmpireStateBuildingNew York law allows the “full disclosure of all matter material and necessary” in a lawsuit. Mancino, at *3 citing CPLR §3101(a).

The Plaintiff sought the ESI in native file format with TIFF images in order to view objective metadata including the author(s), dates of creation, and dates of edits on a key file to know whether an “Activity Report” was changed after the initial creation or the start of the lawsuit.  Mancino, at *7.

The Defendant countered that issues of metadata were “not involved” in the lawsuit and such a production was unnecessary. Id. the Defendant further argued the Plaintiff should have incurred the $3,500 native production costs and that the TIFFing would be a “laborious task.” Mancino, at *8.

Judge Rakower quickly listed the Zubulake cost-shifting factors (cited in U.S. Bank Nat. Ass’n v. GreenPoint Mortgage Funding, Inc., 94 A.D. 3d 58, 63-64 [1st Dept 2012]) and held that cost-shifting was not justified and that the producing party was to pay their own production costs. The Court clearly ordered the production of the ESI in both native file format with TIFFs. Mancino, at *8-9.

Bow Tie Thoughts

State court litigation is often overlooked by eDiscovery commentators.  Mancino is a very good reminder that over 90% of litigation in this country is in state court about regular people. The Plaintiffs in this case had their home burglarized and the resulting litigation was over coverage to recover stolen property. The key discovery focused on a file over who changed what and when on an insurance document. Few examples better highlight the need for metadata.

One big difference between this case and Federal Court is that a producing party need only produce in one form. A producing party would have to produce in native file format or with TIFF and metadata, not both. That being said, a production cost of $3,500 on a case of this size might be on the high side (it is unclear how many computers were at issue, number of hours spent, cost of production media, etc). Moreover, most processing software could do such a production with a few keystrokes (and I would bet at a lower cost then argued to the Court, depending on the volume of data to be collected pertaining to one insured party and other relevant files). There are of course other factors that could drive up costs, but I would need more information to understand why there was a $3,500 production cost estimate for the specific discovery sought.

Guess What? Cooperation Does Not Mean Privilege or Relevancy Are Dead

Here is the big lesson from the latest Biomet opinion over predictive coding:

The Steering Committee wants the whole seed set Biomet used for the algorithm’s initial training. That request reaches well beyond the scope of any permissible discovery by seeking irrelevant or privileged documents used to tell the algorithm what not to find. That the Steering Committee has no right to discover irrelevant or privileged documents seems self-evident.

United States District Court Judge Robert Miller, In re Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Prods. Liab. Litig., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172570, at *3 (D. Ind. 2013).

One word: Good.

Cooperation does not mean attorney work product is eviscerated when discussing predictive coding. Moreover, if ESI is not relevant, why drive up discovery costs in reviewing it?  Furthermore, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(b)(1) does not allow a requesting party to find out how the producing party used ESI before its production. Biomet, at *4.

The opinion goes on to discuss Biomet’s position that it had produced all discoverable documents to the Steering Committee. However, this is where Judge Miller made a judicial warning: Biomet did not need to identify its seed set, but the “unexplained lack of cooperation in discovery can lead a court to question why the uncooperative party is hiding something, and such questions can affect the exercise of discretion.” Biomet, at *5-6.

The Court held it would not order Biomet to disclose its seed set, but did “urge” them to “re-think its refusal.” Biomet, at *6.

Bow Tie Thoughts

There is no good answer to the issue in this case. Technology issues should be worked out by experts in a non-combative way when it comes to production formats, scope of data, date ranges, custodians and other objective factors in conducting a search. Courts really do not want to get sucked into it. However, one issue since Da Silva Moore v Publicis Groupe & MSL Group is the idea that parties need to have transparent process that both sides agree to for predictive coding. I do not think the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require such disclosures at all. Moreover, it intrudes into attorney work product.

What is the answer? I would offer a requesting party to demonstrate there is a production gap or otherwise show how the production is deficient. This easily escalates into a quagmire over discovery about discovery. No body wins when that happens.

As for a producing party, I would not take a position that could incur the wrath of a Court if the requesting party later demonstrates a production was deficient.

Who Knew What When About the Form of Production

Magistrate Judge William Hussmann put a new spin on form of production analysis in Crissen v. Gupta: What form was discovery in and when was it in that form?


The Plaintiff brought a motion for the production of Word documents in native file format. The Producing Party had produced the files as non-searchable PDF’s. The Plaintiff argued the PDF’s lacked the metadata that showed who created the Word documents, revisions and when the files were printed. Crissen v. Gupta, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159534, at *20 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 7, 2013).

The Producing Party countered that the Plaintiff did not state the form of production in their request and that they did not have to produce ESI in more than one form pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b)(2)(E)(iii).  Crissen at *20-21.

The Court explained the Producing Party was partially correct in their reading of Rule 34. However, the “full story” of Rule 34 states  that “[a] party must produce documents as they are kept in the usual course of business” and that, “[i]f a request does not specify a form for producing electronically stored information, a party must produce it in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms.” Crissen at *21, citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(E)(i), (ii).

The Court further cited to the Advisory Committee notes, which states:

[T]he option to produce in a reasonably usable form does not mean that a responding party is free to convert electronically stored information from the form in which it is ordinarily maintained to a different form that makes it more difficult or burdensome for the requesting party to use the information efficiently in the litigation. If the responding party ordinarily maintains the information it is producing in a way that makes it searchable by electronic means, the information should not be produced in a form that removes or significantly degrades this feature.

Crissen at *21-22, citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 34, Advisory Comm. Notes (2006 Amends.).

Driving the point home, the Court explained that a requesting party’s obligation to specify a format for production is superseded by a responding party’s obligation to refrain from converting “any of its electronically stored information to a different format that would make it more difficult or burdensome for [the requesting party] to use.” Crissen at *22, referencing Craig & Landreth, Inc. v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66069, at *3 (S.D. Ind. July 27, 2009).

This is where things took an usual turn: The Court did not know from the record whether the Producing Party had the responsive discovery in native file format. Crissen at *23.

The Court explained that if the Producing Party had only PDFs before being served with the discovery request, they had met their production duties under Fed. R. Civ. P. 34(b)(2)(E)(iii). However, if the Producing Party had them in Word format prior to the discovery request, then the discovery had to be re-produced in native file format. Id. 

Bow Tie Thoughts

It is assumed a producing party has discovery in its native application. There can be exceptions to this assumption. For example, one party to a contract might only have the final version of the contract as a non-searchable PDF. Even then, the PDF’s would likely be an attachment to an email message.

It is highly unlikely a business is converting all business related ESI to PDFs and then destroying the native files as part of a data retention policy. It is conceptually possible, but extremely unlikely anyone would do business like that.

Triangulating Discovery Productions

Judge William Orrick summed up a basic truth of eDiscovery: In the age of electronically-stored information (“ESI”), production of all relevant, not privileged and reasonably accessible documents in a company’s custody and control is easier said than done. Banas v. Volcano Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144139, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 4, 2013).

ChartDividersThe Defendant in Banas had produced 225,000 documents in a rolling production through “triangulation.”

This methodology involved selecting subsets of employees likely to have relevant information, those who sent or received information, those who could have been involved in the case and those “most likely” to have relevant information. Banas at *4.

The Court stated this approach could have been reasonable, but two problems emerged: 1) The methodology was never discussed or agreed to with the Plaintiff; and 2) Multiple deponents did not have their email searched prior to their depositions. Banas at *4-5.

The Plaintiff also had a hard drive that contained ESI that was not produced by the Defendant. Id. 

The Court ordered the supplement search and production of ESI from the deponents whose ESI had not been searched. Banas at *6.

The Court stated that the Defendant’s search methodology was not unreasonable or designed to conceal information. Banas at *7. However, as the production was conducted on a rolling basis, the Plaintiff could not have been immediately aware of any production gaps. Banas at *6.

As such, supplemental discovery was reasonable.

The Court also highlighted the Northern District of California’s model order requiring parties to meet and confer over the search of ESI prior to responding to a discovery request. This is one of the first opinions to reference the model order. Following the model order is highly advisable for anyone in the Northern District of California. It also has very good best practices for any attorney to consider in a case with electronically stored information.

Bow Tie Thoughts

Identifying relevant custodians and their electronically stored information requires using technology and strategy. Many can feel like it is trying to find a teardrop in the ocean.  

Analyzing communication patterns, clustering email based on domain names or conducting searches based on date ranges and subject matter are just a handful of ways to identifying ESI that could support a parties claims or defenses. Running searches based on discovery requests is another.

I recently had a product demonstration of Kroll Ontrack’s eDiscovery.com Review. Below you can see the features of this product can help search for responsive ESI.

Banas v. Volcano Corp., also has a very important message about the meet and confer process. Parties really should discuss what information is subject to the lawsuit, relevant custodians and search methodologies. While I do not agree with the idea of discussing what tools parties should use, because it can cause unnecessary fighting, agreeing on how ESI will be identified certainly does not hurt between educated attorneys.


Proving the Negative in Discovery Productions

confusedA requesting party has a very difficult problem when a producing party has made a very small production that the requesting party believes is deficient.

This situation quickly turns into the requesting party trying to prove a negative to the Court that a production is inadequate, without any evidence to support the argument.

However, just because a requesting party cannot prove a production is inadequate, does not mean the production is adequate.

A Court was faced with this issue in Am. Home Assur. Co. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co. The requesting party argued that the production of only 25 email messages in a case where discovery started in July 2012 was inadequate. However, the Court stated it “cannot compel the production of information that does not exist.” Am. Home Assur. Co. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129638, at *17  (D. Neb. Sept. 11, 2013).

The Court ordered the following as a solution:

Discovery on this matter has been ongoing since July of 2012. It is unclear to the Court why ESI that has presumably been in GOPAC’s possession since the start of discovery has not been fully produced. To provide Cargill an adequate opportunity to contest discovery of ESI, the Court will order GOPAC to disclose the sources it has searched or intends to search and, for each source, the search terms used. The Court will also order all ESI based on the current search terms be produced by November 1, 2013. However, given Cargill’s failure to point to any specific information that has been withheld or additional sources that have not been searched, no further action by the Court is appropriate at this time.

Am. Home Assur. Co., at *17-18.

Bow Tie Thoughts

This is a hard issue for any Judge and requesting party. I believe the Court reached the best solution with what was known by the Court and parties.  Moreover, the Court knew when to stop with its order.

Will a small production always result in a producing party being compelled to disclosed what it searched, what it intends to search and search terms? Most likely no, but it is a good alternative to forcing a requesting party to prove a negative.

No Costs for Hosting eDiscovery for Review

Frau liest schlechte NachrichtThe best way to get requesting parties to take proportionality seriously is to award a prevailing party $71,611.52 for hosting eDiscovery for review and production.

The taxation of eDiscovery costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1920(3)-(4) warrants serious modification as we debate the proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The proposed Amendments place proportionality front and center of Rule 26. However, to truly make proportionality a rule with teeth, nothing will make requesting parties seriously consider what ESI is relevant to the claims and defense of a lawsuit then the prospect of getting hit with a six-figure cost award.

Ancora Techs., Inc. v. Apple, Inc., highlights this this situation brilliantly. Apple was the prevailing party and was initially awarded $116,366.87 in costs. That cost award was ultimately reduced to $20,875.48. Ancora Techs., Inc. v. Apple, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121225 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 26, 2013).

Apple sought $71,611.52 for “License Fee [Hosting of data for production]” for several hundred gigabytes of data that resulted in 3.5 GB being produced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1920(3)-(4), which allows for recovering costs for fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses (subsection 3) and fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case (subsection 4). Ancora Techs., Inc., at *8.

The Court disagreed, explaining that the “Costs incurred in hosting documents electronically, and particularly in hosting costs that exponentially exceed the amount space needed for the amount of data actually produced, as here, simply do not fit under section 1920 ‘s narrow limit of ‘exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case.’” Ancora Techs., Inc., at *9.

The Court also stated that compensable costs only pertain to the “preparation and duplication of documents, not the efforts incurred in assembling, collecting, or processing those documents.”  Ancora Techs., Inc., at *10.


The Court rejected Apple’s argument that the hosting costs were recoverable because Ancora’s discovery requests required Apple to collect/preserve internal emails, thus the hosted application was used for the preparation of the discovery production.

The Court also rejected the argument because the cases Apple cited were outside the Northern District and after the Supreme Court case Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd., U.S. , 132 S.Ct. 1997, 2006, 182 L. Ed. 2d 903 (2012), which narrowed what costs can be awarded under 28 U.S.C. 1920.

Bow Tie Thoughts

Parties will not take proportionality in drafting discovery requests seriously without the prospect of eDiscovery costs being award to a prevailing party. Proportionality needs teeth and awarding costs is a very effective means to that end.

Large companies generate large volumes of data. Preserving what is relevant often generates a large data set that must be winnowed down based upon discovery requests from an opposing party.

eDiscovery hosted applications are nothing like warehouses storing boxes. These applications have the ability to perform analytics beyond an attorney’s “intellectual effort” to identify responsive ESI for productions. It is simply wrong to think of them as an online warehouse that attorneys rummage through with keywords instead of their hands.

Screen shot of Recommind's Axcelerate.

Screen shot of Recommind’s Axcelerate.

The court cases that have limited prevailing party costs have their genesis in the 1980s and 1990s, which have been applied to the real world of the 21st Century. The advanced search, data analytics and clustering features of a hosted review platform is in no way comparable to attorneys assembling a paper production.

The paper model being applied to hosted software applications and productions is simply not appropriate in controlling eDiscovery costs. One step towards addressing this issue is for attorneys to have service providers submit more detailed billing invoices describing what work was done and why it was necessary. Expert should submit affidavits to educate the Courts to demonstrate that the process is not simply a production assembly, but the preparation and duplication of ESI in response to a discovery request.

I believe this needs to change, either judicially or legislatively. Simply telling a prevailing party to take a $70,000 hit for hosting data collected based up the requests of the opposing party is unjust. There are many litigation costs parties should incur, but costs will not truly be considered by parties until Courts start awarding costs for online eDiscovery applications.


Plain Spoken Form of Production

My grandfather grew up a plain spoken farmer in Iowa. He had a bow tie wearing attorney uncle who also knew how to sum up an issue.

It is very nice to see a clearly stated order on the form of production from the Northern District of Iowa, Eastern Division that continues the tradition of telling it like it is.


Magistrate Judge Ross Walters concisely summarized the form of production:

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(b)(2)(E) requires that a party must produce electronically stored information (“ESI”) “in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a reasonably usable form or forms . . . .” Similarly the Advisory Committee Note to the 2006 rules amendment (“Advisory Committee Note”) explains that if the form of production has not been specified by agreement or court order “the responding party must produce electronically stored information either in a form or forms in which it is ordinarily maintained or in a form or forms that are reasonably useable.”

Readlyn Tel. Co. v. Qwest Communs. Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45168, 2-3 (N.D. Iowa Mar. 29, 2013).

The producing party stated it had produced the ESI in a reasonably useable form. The Court saw no reason not to believe them and held that the producing party did not have to re-produce ESI already produced as native files or in a read-only but searchable format. Readlyn, at *3.

There was a big “however”: If there was any discovery that had to be produced subject to the motion to compel, the Court required the ESI to be produced in native format or read-only but searchable format.” Id. The Court stated:

Specifically, if Readlyn ordinarily maintains additional information subject to production by this ruling “in a way that makes it searchable by electronic means,” care shall be taken that the form of production will not “remove[] or significantly degrade[]” the searchable feature. Advisory Committee Note.

Readlyn, at *3.

Bow Tie Thoughts

BowTieGrandUncle1935I am not the first bow tie wearing lawyer in my family.

This is the first court order I have seen that used the phrase “read-only but searchable format.” There are many opinions stating “searchable format,” but this is the only one I have seen with that exact language. I believe this is a more accurate statement of the law regarding productions, because the use of “static images” or “TIFF’s” or “PDF’s” can result in “read-only” productions that are not searchable.

Judge Walters’ use of the phrase “read-only but searchable format” ensured compliance with the language of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Advisory Notes that prohibits degrading searchable features of electronically stored information in discovery. I hope others follow Judge Ross Walters’ lead in other discovery orders on the form of production.

What options are there for producing “read-only but searchable format”? The traditional options are 1) TIFF with extracted text/metadata and 2) Searchable PDF with extracted text/metadata. Parties not using a review platform can conduct basic word searches in a searchable PDF or the text file accompanying a TIFF production. Parties using a review platform can get the benefit of effectively having “free document review” because all the objective information is readily searchable by name, date and other basic information from the face of the document.

Triggering the Duty to Preserve

Plaintiffs requested email sent to or from the Defendants on November 4, 2011 in their April 10, 2012 discovery requests. The Plaintiffs had filed the lawsuit and an emergency preliminary injunction on November 7, 2011, which was attended by Defense counsel. The Defendants claimed producing the emails was impossible, because the Defendant had a 90 day retention policy and the Plaintiff did not serve the discovery requests until April 10, 2012, more than 150 days after the date in question. Stiriling v. St. Louis County Police Dep’t, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71435, 1-5 (D. Mo. 2013).

The Court rejected the Defendants’ “impossibility” argument.

PocketWatchmotherBoardThe Court explained that the “obligation to preserve evidence arises when the party has notice that the evidence is relevant to litigation – most commonly when suit has already been filed, providing the party responsible for the destruction with express notice, but also on occasion in other circumstances, as for example when a party should have known that the evidence may be relevant to future litigation.” Stiriling, at *3, citing  Kronisch v. United States, 150 F.3d 112, 126 (2nd Cir. 1998) (emphasis added), overruled on other grounds by Rotella v. Wood, 528 U.S. 549 (2000).

The Court held that the duty to preserve evidence began on November 7, 2011, because of the filing of the lawsuit and emergency preliminary injunction hearing, putting the Defendants on notice of the lawsuit and the relevant subject matter. Stiriling, at *3-4.

The Court further held:

As such, Defendants are directed immediately to determine all sources, including back-up computer files, where such emails may still exist. Defendants shall thereafter file a notice with the Court advising of any and all sources from which said emails may be retrieved, and shall show cause why they should not be required to retrieve and produce said documents.


IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants shall immediately make a thorough and complete determination of all sources, including hard copy files and electronic files, and including any and all back-up files, and make a good faith effort to uncover all responsive information in their possession, custody or control.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that on or before May 31, 2013, Defendants shall file a notice with the Court advising of any and all sources from which the requested emails may be retrieved, and shall show cause why they should not be compelled to retrieve and produce said emails from those sources.

Stiriling, at *4-5.

Bow Tie Thoughts

Determining the triggering date of the duty to preserve can be fact intensive. Most situations do not have a dispute date followed by the filing of a lawsuit three days later, complete with an emergency hearing for a preliminary injunction. These facts have bright lines to show a triggering date for issuing a litigation hold.


There are several ways to comply with the duty to preserve (Note, freezing the custodian is not one of them).

If dealing with simply one laptop, having a mirror image of the hard drive might only cost $500 (which compared to motion practice is cheap).

Alternatively, if the relevant content is very specific (i.e., there was an emergency hearing on it), a party might have an expert perform a targeted collection on a laptop, to avoid collecting non-relevant files. Which technology to use will turn heavily on the facts of the lawsuit.

Attorneys would be remised to only think in terms of laptops. Relevant data might be on smartphones or tablet PC’s, so asking their clients what computer devices they use is highly recommended.