Cross Border Litigation - An Inventive & Unified Approach
The world has never had a more truly global economy than present day. We are able to order goods and services from practically any country and have it all shipped to our doorstep in a matter of days - exactly what we want, when we want it. We are able to invest in growing economies, and there are new forms of currency being developed to make trading goods and services even easier. So what does this mean for companies wanting to expand into new markets and do business outside of their home country? These businesses will be subjected to many new regulatory, civil and criminal laws to which they must comply, as well as observing cultural differences, in order to start and maintain their business in the new market. Finding answers or even simple guidance in these matters can be challenging enough, but ending up in litigation due to oversight could be catastrophic. For eDiscovery- having to learn new systems for the review of data, and understanding the various capabilities and organization of those systems, can pose additional challenges and unnecessary frustration that can lead to delays; or other issues that can be costly in more ways than just money.
Inventus recently worked on a case with a German company that was involved in a contract dispute with a company located in the U.S. Data was initially received in the U.S. and we began processing and hosting that data to the client's specifications. However, since the company was based in Germany, we soon started to collect data from Germany and jurisdictional issues of where that data had to reside soon came into play. The majority of the data was collected from Germany, it was decided to move all of the data from the U.S. into Germany; all while still maintaining counsel's access to the data. Normally, this would have required all data to be reprocessed and re-reviewed in a different database structure, or even a different review platform, which would have involved re-training time for their counsel and extra cost for the client. However, we were able to avoid all of that by coordinating the same processing software and review platform with the same settings in both the U.S. and Germany. Our process involved creating a backup of the workspace and moving it overnight into the German environment, providing access to the exact same data to the case team by the next morning in Germany (which is 8 hours ahead of US Central time).
Once the data was in Germany, we were able to split the review into two parts to accommodate both the jurisdictional requirements and the case team's review needs.
- - Part One: We conducted a local review for data privacy to identify the documents that could leave German borders. This review was set up on-site in Frankfurt, Germany and managed by a resource located in London, using remote capabilities that did not allow any data outside of the German borders.
- Part Two: Once documents were identified to not have data privacy issues, they were sent to the U.S. for the second part of the review to identify relevant documents for production. Since all of the templates in use at the time were exactly the same, we were able to export the exact structure of the workspace from the previous version in the U.S. and load the data into the U.S. review platform overnight again- without disruption to the attorneys conducting the review and providing the exact same user experience to all. This way the U.S. team could hit the ground running.
As more documents were released by the German review team, those flowed into the process seamlessly and could be QC'd by our resource in London to ensure that the documents and metadata matched on both sides. There was no need to reprocess data to a different specification or re-train the case team on a new review platform. Furthermore, when we received additional data in the U.S. (that did not need to be first reviewed for data privacy issues) we were able to take advantage of having the same processing specifications to create the same hash values and deduplicate against the data processed and received from Germany.
Having the same platform, settings and structures to display data in the same way in multiple locations around the world becomes important when data needs to move swiftly between jurisdictions. In this case, we were able to accommodate moves with literally no downtime for the case team and contract review team and provide them all with the same user experience worldwide.