Peter S. Vogel, trial partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP and contributor of this blog and Allison O’Neal Skinner from the Alabama-based law firm Sirote & Permutt will host the TexasBarCLE Webcast “When to Use eMediation or Special Masters in eDiscovery“ on February 16, 2010 from 2-3:30pm. Here are more details:
eDiscovery has changed litigation forever and now litigants need innovative ways to navigate the disputes that inevitably arise with Electronically Stored Information (ESI). This webcast presents two methods for the litigants and the judiciary to use to resolve conflicts arising from eDiscovery: eMediation and Special Masters. Although Mediation is hardly a new process for resolving cases, it is new for resolving discovery disputes. Similarly, the use of Special Masters in litigation is not so common, but with the increase in eDiscovery motion practice, appointments of Special Masters for eDiscovery are increasing.
This panel will discuss:
– The benefits of eMediation to effectively manage eDiscovery in a unique and productive way.
– How and when to use an eMediation.
– The various functions the Special Master can serve for the parties and the Court.
– The comparative effectiveness of an eMediator versus a Special Master at different pre-trial stages.
Below are some highlights:
– eMediation allows Information Technology (IT) disclosures to the Mediator in a private caucus which allows frank planning on eDiscovery.
– Lawyers at the eMediation can be candid with the Mediator to help avoid contentious and expensive motion practice.
– If the eMediation works well and an Mediation eDiscovery Plan (MEP) is prepared, fewer disputes are presented to Judges, which helps preserve the credibility of the litigants.
eMediations work best at the outset of litigation, but after an initial MEP is prepared the parties should be prepared to return to the eMediator when specific issue of dispute arise.
– A Special Master can be warranted in certain cases which allows a neutral third party to assist the Judge with eDiscovery issues.
– The Special Master may assist by (1) overseeing the parties follow the court’s discovery orders, (2) resolving disputed eDiscovery controversies, such as “is the data reasonably accessible?” or “did spoliation occur?”, and (3) determining technical issues.