March 23, 2012
Using Mediation to Resolve E-Discovery Disputes
~ written by Vicki Jenkins, Chair, ADR Committee
Mediation is no longer only used to settle cases. Mediation is increasingly used to resolve e-discovery disputes. Courts are developing e-discovery mediation programs to address the increasing number of discovery disputes arising from electronically stored information. For example, in the Circuit Court of Cook County (IL), judges are now entering orders referring e-discovery disputes to mediation under Rule 20 of the Circuit Court Rules.
Elsewhere, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has approved the development of a list of attorneys with expertise in electronic discovery to serve as Special Masters upon appointment by the court. The criteria include e-discovery training or experience and mediation training or experience.
According to Allision O. Skinner, a mediator in Birmingham (AL), mediating e-discovery disputes creates a forum for the parties to:
- self-direct workable solutions,
- define scope parameters,
- determine relevancy,
- create timelines for production or e-depositions, propose confidential compromises,
- create efficiencies with a mutual discovery plan,
- set guidelines for asserting violations of the plan, create boundaries for preservation,
- avoid spoliation pitfalls,
- manage protection of privilege information,
- maintain credibility with the court,
- avoid court-imposed sanctions, and allocate costs.
The ADR and Federal Court committees will hold a joint meeting Friday noon, April 13. David R. Cohen will discuss the mediation of e-discovery disputes. Mr. Cohen is a licensed attorney, mediator and a Federal Special Master for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, who has mediated numerous e-discovery disputes.
If you want to learn more about the mediation of e-discovery disputes, please join us for this meeting.