Essential Discovery
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Employment Matter

Client- A national employment law firm.

Matter- Wage and hour class-action lawsuit.

Challenge- This particular client (the “Client”) was under a court order to produce sensitive documents in a wage and hour class-action lawsuit. These documents contained social security numbers, home addresses, pay rates and other highly-personal information pertaining to individual employees (the “Private Information”). This Private Information was not relevant to the case; however, these documents contained other relevant information that needed to be produced. Specifically, certain employee disciplinary reports – which were both required to be produced and of a particularly salacious nature – were at issue. For many of these employee disciplinary reports, the individual employee’s name was included in the title (e.g., “Jane_Doe_Disciplinary_Report.pdf”). Client was concerned about producing any Private Information that might identify specific employees, or compromise an employee’s privacy.

Essential Discovery’s Solution- Essential Discovery utilized its Advance Review Team Approach (a team of two to three highly experienced review attorneys led by a Senior Project Manager with deep subject matter expertise, technical expertise in the relevant review tool, and a thorough understanding of workflow design) to identify documents that might contain Private Information. The Client had limited insight into the full extent of the Private Information that could be contained within the related documents. Accordingly, the Advanced Review Team designed a workflow that allowed for sampling of the data, prior to linear review, in order to ensure that any Private Information was identified. Essential Discovery’s contract attorneys then analyzed for responsiveness and privilege, while at the same time identifying and redacting Private Information. Finally, Essential Discovery’s project management team designed and implemented a quality control program to ensure all Private Information was identified and redacted prior to production.

Results- All production deadlines were met, and no Private Information was produced.

Methodology- Shortly after being engaged, Essential Discovery accomplished the following:

  • Essential Discovery’s Advanced Review Team sampled the database to find representative documents that contained Private Information.
  • Once these documents were identified, the Advanced Review Team created a list of terms that would likely select documents containing Private Information that needed to be redacted, and segregated these documents for separate review.
  • In addition, Essential Discovery advised Client’s ESI vendor to utilize the “regular expressions” feature in the processing database to help identify additional Private Information. This technology can identify social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other information that appears in a predictable form (e.g., ###-##-####).
  • Essential Discovery’s contract attorneys redacted all sensitive information, while Essential Discovery’s Advanced Review Team crafted an innovative approach to redact the document titles of disciplinary reports that contained employee names. The team duplicated the document titles in a second, editable metadata field and modified that field to remove the employee name. Prior to production, the original metadata fields were replaced with the redacted versions.
  • Quality control was performed to ensure redactions were properly applied across all documents.