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The company handling electronic document production in the Enron civil suits said that a software bug may have erased text in e-mails produced for discovery in the case over an 18-month span. Applied Discovery Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based division of LexisNexis, said one client has reported a problem so far. And lawyers handling the Enron litigation said it was too early to predict the potential impact. But several of the lawyers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that if the problem was widespread and had corrupted the discovery process, it could cost tens of millions of dollars to fix and could foul up both pending and settled Enron litigation. So far, no one is panicking. Scott Nagel, a vice president and managing director at Applied described the problem as “pretty small in scale.” He said that his company was working with Microsoft Corp., which produces the e-mail program at the heart of the problem, and the client that first reported the issue to come up with a fix. The company declined to name the client. The issue was disclosed in a July 7 letter sent by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to all of the counsel in the largest Enron civil suit, Newby v. Enron Corp. Paul Weiss would not comment on the problem nor would it say whether it was the client affected by the glitch. The firm’s letter, however, said that “according to Applied Discovery, when Microsoft Outlook 2003 is used to open e-mails created in prior versions of Outlook, some e-mails appear to be blank.” As a result, “responsive information” in the original e-mails would not be identified through electronic searches or manual review: “The problem appears to affect electronic e-mail processing handled by Applied Discovery during the period of October 2004 through April 2006-and quite possibly electronic e-mail processing handled by other document processing vendors.”

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