The §1920 Blues: Courts "Literally" Limiting Recovery of eDiscovery Costs
by Laura Ewing-Pearle, CEDS*
Assistant Director - Client Services
With another federal court and another district court interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4) very literally and affirming Race Tires America, parties need to find a way to keep their technology costs low. Just last month in the Northern District of California, Judge Susan Illston reduced an eDiscovery award for "costs for exemplification and the costs of making copies" from $61,312 to $7,106.65 - a reduction of 88%. The December 2013 decision by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in CBT Flint Partners LLC v. Return Path Inc. et al. overturned an eDiscovery costs award of $318,135 for the combined defendants. Following the Fourth Circuit's decision in April 2013 in The County Vintner v. Gallo, in which the court sliced an $111,047 eDiscovery bill to $218, clients should be nervous - particularly since both courts still affirmed the need for complete and thorough productions, including metadata. Race Tires was again cited this past January 2014 in Chicago Board Options Exchange, Inc. v. Int'l Securities Exchange, LLC, in which the Court denied recovery under §1920 for collection, culling, searching, hosting, or creating a document database.
In reviewing eleven decisions specifically focused on recovering costs under §1920 over the last 14 months, only three facts are clear:
- if you actually copy paper documents, or copy documents onto a CD, you can recover your copying costs;
- if you collect electronic files and process those files correctly in order to preserve and copy the metadata, you will not be able to recover those costs, nor any costs for coding the documents or for hosting/"storing"; and
- §1920 should be revised to reflect the realities of 21st century documents.
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*Laura Ewing-Pearle earned the Certified E-Discovery Specialist (CEDS) designation in August 2013. The CEDS credential is awarded to individuals who demonstrate mastery of the topic of eDiscovery by passing a rigorous exam administered by the Association of Certified E–Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), the premier membership organization for eDiscovery professionals worldwide. Laura is accredited to provide CLEs in six states. She frequently speaks on technology & the law, and has managed eDiscovery projects for corporate clients, law firms, and vendors.
Cobra Welcomes New Director of Technology Solutions
We are delighted to announce that Danielle Brown, the current Director of the Central Texas chapter of Women in eDiscovery, has joined Cobra as its Director of Technology Solutions. In this newly created role, Danielle will oversee the successful deployment of Cobra's hosted and on-premise eDiscovery, Early Case Assessment, and Litigation Support tools, including XERA®, by iCONECT®, to help corporate legal departments and law firms manage their eDiscovery and case management needs consistently and cost-effectively. An experienced technology executive and consultant, Danielle brings years of professional experience advising clients on the technology solutions that facilitate litigation and the eDiscovery process.
Previously, Danielle was the CEO and President of Accelerated Digital Solutions, an Austin-based consulting company, which she sold in 2009. In addition to several other positions working with and managing technology solutions, Danielle has been an art teacher and has taught accounting, web development, database theory and English at the college level. She regularly mentors young women in their personal and professional endeavors and is a published poet. Danielle received a B.A. in Computer Science and English from Baylor University, and a Masters in Religion and Philosophy from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Click here to learn more about Cobra's Technology Solutions Service
Cobra Sponsors the Champion of Justice Gala 2014 Benefiting Veterans
obra was a proud sponsor of the Champions of Justice Gala 2014 Benefiting Veterans. Co-hosted by the Texas Access to Justice Commission and the State Bar of Texas on May 13, the gala raised $348,450 to fund various programs providing civil legal services to Veterans. Opening remarks from Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht reminded the assembled legal community of its collective commitment to justice. Guest speaker Laura Marsh, M.D., Head of Mental Health at the Michael DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, discussed the psychosocial and psychiatric challenges facing our veterans, as well as the efforts the VA has made towards helping veterans integrate back into civilian life. Cobra is honored to help provide much needed support to the brave men and women who have made great sacrifices for our country.
Click here to learn more about the Texas Access to Justice Commission