The ever-increasing use of electronic communications and storage systems, ranging from e-mail to word processing documents, to computerized databases, has greatly changed the nature of document preservation and production. As more and more people create, utilize and store electronic data in various formats, electronic discovery issues have become increasingly important in litigation. This is especially true in mass tort actions, which commonly involve large numbers of electronic documents. Accordingly, Multidistrict Litigations (MDLs) have begun to employ a variety of mechanisms to handle electronic discovery in mass tort actions, including case management orders, preservation orders and discovery protocols. Mass tort MDLs that recently issued such orders and protocols that deal specifically with electronic discovery include: Baycol – In re: Baycol Products Litigation, MDL No. 1431, Pretrial Order No. 6 (March 4, 2002) and No. 19 (May 9, 2002)(D. Minn.); phenylpropanolamine (PPA) – In re Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1407, Case Management Order No. 3 (W.D. Wash., Jan. 29, 2002); Silzone heart valves – St. Jude Medical, Inc., Silzone Heart Valves Products Liability Litigation, 2002 WL 341019 (D. Minn., March 1, 2002); Propulsid – In re: Propulsid Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1355, Pretrial Order No. 10 (E.D. La., April 19, 2001); Bridgestone/Firestone tires – In re Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. ATX, ATX II and Wilderness Tires Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1373, (S.D. Ind., March 15, 2001)(two orders); and Rezulin litigation – In re: Rezulin Products Liability Litigation, 2000 WL 1801846 (S.D.N.Y., Dec. 7, 2000).
Preservation of Electronic Data
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