Check Computer Filings, Before and After
Future Lawyer Rick Georges posts about a computer glitch from hell: the inadvertent attachment of privileged documents to materials disclosed in discovery. Ouch!
According to the post, a computer error caused the addition of allegedly privileged documents to a pleading. To compound matters, the mistake was not discovered for three to four months, at which point the attorney moved to compel return of the erroneously released materials. The court denied the motion, applying a five-prong test. The court considered a variety of factors in its ruling, including the fact that so much material had been released and that it would be unfair to burden plaintiffs with return of the materials and deprive them of their use. In addition, the court had little sympathy for the "I inadvertently clicked the wrong mouse button" excuse, finding that if attorneys are going to obtain the benefits of technology, they must also take the time to adequately protect information.
In some ways, this case illustrates the one drawback (albeit minor) of e-filing and electronic production. You click the "send" button, and chances are, you never look at the file again. By contrast, when you file a paper document, you may spend time aimlessly skimming through it, which means that you'd catch any inadvertent errors. In any event, from now on, before I heave a sigh of relief after I e-file a court document, I'll be sure to visit the court site just to make sure that I filed the right version, before logging off.
Posted by Carolyn Elefant on July 19, 2006 at 06:45 PM | Permalink
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