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The sight of some 20 million pages of discovery documents is enough to make a tree-hugger cry. But think of the grief a litigator must feel when faced with having to read all those documents. Daniel Johnson Jr., a partner at Fenwick & West in Palo Alto, California, is in charge of a massive intellectual property dispute that has gobbled up enough paper to make a forest. “The numbers keep growing,” says Johnson. “I was in the other day and heard there were 15 million, 23 million, 31 million [pages]. So who knows? Either way, it’s a lot of documents.” So far, Fenwick has had to build 20,000 square feet of new shelf space to house the documents for the dispute, Compuware Corp. v. International Business Machines Corp., 02-70906. The case, filed in March 2002, is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Fenwick represents Compuware, which alleges that IBM is using Compuware’s source code in a line of products. Compuware also accuses IBM of being a monopoly and using its dominance to hinder competition. A hearing on Compuware’s motion for a preliminary injunction was scheduled for June, which had Johnson bracing for even more documents. Snowing your opponent with paper, of course, is a standard litigation tactic. And IBM is famous for providing plenty of documentation, says Johnson, so he planned for it. “There is much more coordination than you would use on a regular case,” he says. Johnson divided up the case among the partners in ways that would make document storage manageable. The litigators also drafted extra hands to help with cataloguing and copying the material and putting the pages into binders. IBM provides its discovery material on compact discs, and Fenwick pays several companies to transfer the data onto paper. One day in November, one of the companies pulled up in a U-Haul van with 250 boxes of documents. “Every day, I walk in and say ‘it will be better today,’ and it usually takes 15 minutes before I realize that it’s to be just like yesterday,” says Trish Majidian, a Fenwick paralegal involved with the Compuware case. “Normally, you assign different shelves to different things. Here, we’ve assigned different rooms to different things.”

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