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The case revolved around the illegal recording of privileged phone calls between prison inmates and their attorneys.
Plaintiff claimed that attorneys had requested their phone numbers be marked "privileged" in the prison database. This should have prevented these calls from being recorded.
Defendants claimed that the phone tracking database had "issues" that periodically reset the privileged flag. This resulted in all calls being recorded, regardless of privilege flags.
Call logs were provided by defendants as Excel files.
- 2 defendants provided call records as Excel files.
- Each set of Excel files contained, 5 years worth of data, split into monthly reports.
- Each Excel report was an unwieldly ~15MB in size apiece.
- 2 separate data schemas, one for each defendant.
Digital Strata’s client was able to understand the data that was provided, but the volume of data made it unwieldy to work with. Because it was split across so many large files, cross-referencing and synthesizing data from these spreadsheets was untenable.
Digital Strata took a two-pronged approach to solving this problem.
First, all data provided via Excel was normalized, and loaded into a SQL database. This allowed us to quickly and easily run queries against the entire dataset. Digital Strata worked with our client to craft numerous queries, enabling the client to easily find relevant data.
Second, Digital Strata wrote a number of computer scripts that cross-referenced data in the database with data provided by third parties (namely,
Digital Strata were deposed as factual witnesses in the civil case (Johnson v. Corrections Corporation of America [Case 4:16-cv-00947-SRB]).
Based on our work in the civil case, Digital Strata was also asked to testify as factual witnesses in the related federal case (United States of America v. Lorenzo Black et al. [Case 2:16-cr-20032-JAR]).
The work performed by Digital Strata was instrumental in supporting the attorneys in reviewing the massive amount of data in an efficient, thorough and reliable fashion.
A settlement was reached that awarded 750 class members a total of $3.7 million.
As a rule, eDiscovery should always follow a very specific, pre-planned workflow. This usually involves data collection and processing, while staying within parameters specified by the client, its law firm, and the eDiscovery team. Occasionally, file types fall out of this workflow, which can cause the entire system to come to a screeching halt.
A law firm bidding on work for a large pharmaceutical company was presented with a challenge that caused their normal process to derail. As part of this project, the law firm was provided with very large text files that appeared to be raw data dumps from structured data sources. They were expected to analyze and provide responsive data from these files,
The law firm’s in-house eDiscovery operation did not know what the data was or where the files came from, and their standard process of collection and processing produced errors such as unknown file types and files that were so large text could not be extracted from them.
Because this was a pending bid for work, the law firm did not want to ask their prospective client questions about the data for fear of not seeming up to the job. Instead, their internal eDiscovery team assembled a list of questions and issues with the data but were unable to find the answers on their own.
While this law firm had a significant in-house eDiscovery operation, certain aspects of this project were evidently outside of their abilities, scope of work, and experience, so they engaged Digital Strata to remedy the situation.
Within one day, Digital Strata, armed with a minimal debrief from the law firm’s eDiscovery team, opened the files and performed the needed analysis. We found the data exports were from a proprietary database of adverse drug effects. Using targeted search terms and other advanced search parameters, revealed the data included specific tables pertaining to drugs and their effects. Digital Strata was able to quickly recognize complicating factors within the data files, and throughout the eDiscovery process to achieve the client’s desired results.
Within just a few days, Digital Strata provided comprehensive answers to the law firm’s previously unanswerable questions, and follow-up advisory services to the law firm throughout the duration of their bidding process.
This situation illustrates how unknown, seemingly unstructured data types can often result in errors, and even work stoppage, during standard eDiscovery processing. Data must be treated and analyzed with a distinctly different process and workflow. This out-of-the-box thinking and analysis, combined with accurate database administration and programming expertise, empowered Digital Strata to provide a completely transparent analysis of the data while precluding client contact, delivering the desired outcome that the law firm needed.
Text Messaging Activity
A tractor-trailer making a highway crossing was struck in its towed unit by a passenger vehicle, resulting in the death of the passenger vehicle’s driver. An investigation ensued in conjunction with a wrongful death suit against the trucking company by the deceased driver’s family.to determine who was at fault, and specifically for the defending law firm representing the trucking company, how much fault lay with the passenger vehicle’s driver. The digital evidence, in this case, was from the mobile phone of the deceased driver.
It was believed the driver of the passenger vehicle was potentially distracted in the moments leading up to the accident as no evidence was found that the driver attempted to stop prior to the accident. Digital Strata was retained by defense counsel to determine if the plaintiff was, in fact, using her mobile phone prior to the accident.
Digital Strata partnered with the law firm representing the trucking company to image and analyze the vehicle driver’s Apple iPhone for activity that might provide evidence of distracted driving.
Analysis of her device isolated text messaging activity to establish that the plaintiff was actively engaged in a texting session just prior to the accident. The texting logs were accessed in a defensible manner, and the metadata was preserved so that the messages could be authenticated to the Court.
Based on Digital Strata’s work, the defending law firm was able to greatly reduce the amount of damages paid to the plaintiff, since the provided evidence of texting prior to the accident was determined to be a contributing factor.