The Discovery Update E-Letter Articles

01Nov2014

Four Things You Can Do With Google Docs

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By Michael Hall
I have put together a list of four helpful things you can do with Google Docs to improve your workflow. Create a PDF file Creating a PDF file used to require all sorts of cumbersome software and add-ons for word processors. These days anyone can create a PDF document without pulling a single hair out.
11Dec2013

Independent Observers: Reporting the Facts

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It takes constant vigilance to ensure the continued operation of democratic institutions. They don’t just happen on their own. Over the past two centuries, we have evolved a number of procedures and institutions to improve the fairness of the electoral process. True, things are not perfect, as the last presidential election illustrates.
11Dec2013

Judging Science

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
11Dec2013

Equivalents and Estoppel: Patent Interpretations & Scope

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The “doctrine of equivalents” and “prosecution history estoppel” are two interrelated equitable doctrines courts can apply in determining the reach of patents. The doctrine of equivalents gives some leeway in interpreting the extent of a patent rather than limiting it to the exact literal meaning of the words used to describe the invention.
11Dec2013

Enterprise Search Engines

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
11Dec2013

Environmental Legislation

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1970 Clean Air Act 1972 Fed Environmental Pesticides Act Water Pollution Control Act Amendments Ocean Dumping Act 1973 Endangered Species Act 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act Resource Conservation and Recovery Act 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments Clean Water Act 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) 1982 Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments 1986 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act 1988 Montreal Protocol on CFCs Federal Insecticide,
11Dec2013

Ending Ignorance: Clarity Through Paper, Not Purpose

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Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The problem is no one really knows what the law says. Judges don’t. They require attorneys to submit Memoranda of Points and Authorities to back up their motions, and they still have clerks to conduct further research. Attorneys don’t. Even if they tailor their practice to one narrow aspect of the law,
11Dec2013

Employment Cases Skyrocket (arising from civil rights cases)

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
11Dec2013

Employment Law & EEOC Enforcement Actions

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
11Dec2013

Dissenting Viewpoints: Three Supreme Court Judges on Damages

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Three of the Supreme Court Justices – Thomas, Scalia and Ginsburg – issued dissents in Campbell. Justice Thomas simply reiterated his statement from concurrence in Cooper, “I continue to believe that the Constitution does not constrain the size of punitive damages awards. Justice Scalia issued a similarly brief statement stating, in part,
11Dec2013

Class Action Reform

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
11Dec2013

At the Crossroads: Uncertainties, Life, and Litigation

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In an ideal world, we could just wait for science to provide us with ultimate truths to guide our actions. But we are not living in that utopia and, in this real world, science is as full of change and uncertainty as any other field of human endeavor. Thirty years ago popular scientific opinions held that we were headed toward a new Ice Age if pollution was not curtailed.
11Dec2013

Adding Value: Superior Standards Prevail

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The Ides of March have claimed another victim. This time, however, it wasn’t an emperor but simply a captain of industry. On March 15, a jury in a Southern District of New York convicted former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers of securities fraud. And, while his attorneys will take on the role of Marc Anthony and plead his virtue to the press and the  appellate judges,
11Dec2013

Admitting OSHA Data

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
01Sep2013

Medical Liability Legislation

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
01Aug2013

TranscriptPad Update Provides Improved Reports

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By Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D.
Whenever a litigator asks me to recommend useful iPad apps, one of my first recommendations is TranscriptPad.  If you own an iPad and you work with depositions, you will love this app.  And if you don’t have it yet, I encourage you to buy it immediately before the price goes up,
01Sep2012

Tools for the Sustainable Law Office

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By the Center for Earth Leadership
To promote sustainable office practices, the Center for Earch Leadership has created six tools for use in a law office setting. Additionally, annotated versions of selected checklists and supplemental materials are available for education of office personnel. Model Office Sustainability Policy.  A key element in any office initiative is a sustainability policy adopted by the management team. 
04Aug2012

Simplifying Case Management

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A functional definition of complex litigation recognizes that the need for management… does not simply arise from complexity, but is its defining characteristic: The greater the need for management, the more ‘complex’ is the litigation.” –– Manual For Complex Litigation Third A complex case can take on a life of its own,
01Aug2012

iPad: Transcripts in Trial

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By Jeff Richardson
When you are in a long trial, it is helpful to make arrangements for daily transcripts so that you can refer back to what was said by a witness, the court, or your opponent in a prior day.  In a trial of any length, you will want to have access to prior deposition transcripts and prior hearings. 
18Jun2012

Limiting Punitive Damages

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
01Jun2012

Advice for Lawyers New to the iPad

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Attorneys frequently ask me which iPad they should get and what they should purchase once they get their first iPad.  These often-asked questions led me, back in June of 2011, to create this post to provide the answer that I would often provide in an e-mail.  With the third generation iPad released last week,
17May2012

Toxic Mold Litigation

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.
28Jul2011

Real Reform: A Diagnosis of Medical Malpractice

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Judgments in civil actions are supposed to make the parties whole again. For economic damages, that is easily done. A wrecked car can be replaced with a new one. Non-economic damages are an entirely different matter. All a jury can do is give someone money. It can’t restore sight, relieve pain or bring a loved one back to life.
10Jun2011

Ontario Adopts Electronic Filing

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The Toronto courts had a familiar problem. According to Ontario Attorney General Charles Harnic, “The current paper-driven system for filing civil court documents is outdated and costly. With 225,000 documents filed in civil cases each year in Toronto alone, having to go down to court and wait in line-ups to file wastes time,
26May2011

The Pro and Con of Unpublished Opinions

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Pro – Those speaking in favor of a national rule made these points: Currently, non-precedential decisions are the only sources that parties are explicitly forbidden to cite. In some circuits, a party can cite an infinite variety of nonbinding sources of authority – including everything from decisions of the courts of Great Britain to law review articles to op-ed pieces –
19Sep2010

Reasons For Decline and Up and Down

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DISCOVERY SOLUTIONS A common complaint is that attending law school may give one a solid grounding in the principles of the law, but not in the practice of the law. This is learned after passing the bar exam. To help new litigators bridge the gap between theory and practice, three experienced litigators wrote a book Discovery Problems and Their Solutions which was published earlier this year by ABA Publishing.
08Aug2010

Torpedoing “Submarine” Patents

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Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states that “Congress shall have Power … to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Given the “Progress of Science and useful Arts” over the past 200 years,
01Aug2010

Examining the 4 Areas of Business Social Networking Risk

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By Jeff Sizemore, Forsythe Solutions Group, Inc.
Social media is now as common as a cup of coffee. Millions of people each day visit Facebook or Twitter, or spend their time blogging or “wiki-ing” (if that’s really even a word!). If those people, however, are your employees, you have to take it seriously.
14Jul2010

Open Season

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It used to be difficult to get court records. In 1944 the U.S. Judicial Conference set a $.40 fee per page, the equivalent of $3.81 today, and you had to go down to the courthouse to get it. Now, with electronic access, you can do the same from your PC for $.07 per page,
01Jun2010

Why Do You Need an Investigator?

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By Gary Fradis, Stein Investigations
When an attorney is presented with a new case, one of the first decisions he has to make is whether to litigate the matter or dispose of it by settlement. Sometimes, the lack of available information can make this a difficult decision. Many a case has been won based largely on the evidence procured through the use of an investigator.
01May2010

Three Ways and Expert Witness Can Save Firms

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By Barry Jay Epstein, Ph.D., CPA and Elaine Vullmahn, CPA, CIA
Many law firms unknowingly, and unnecessarily, sacrifice limited billable hours by only utilizing an expert witness and litigation support staff during the final trial phase. Law firms can improve efficiency throughout the litigation process by retaining an expert witness early on,
01May2010

The Choreography of Trial Preparation

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By Barbara J. Ebenstein, Esq
Choreography is the art of making dances. The choreographer arranges movement, lights, and sound in a deliberate manner to convey a concept, set a mood, or tell a story. Trial preparation is like a choreography in that it is a deliberate arrangement of elements to convey a concept and tell a story from a particular point of view.
01Apr2010

The Reason Storytelling Works

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By Brad Bradshaw, Ph.D., Bradshaw Litigation Consulting
“Storytelling” is an unfortunate name for an extremely important concept. When used in a non-legal context “storytelling” has a negative connotation – denoting myth or even deception. However, in the legal arena the term “storytelling”’ refers to both the emotional and descriptive elements of the case that provides context and meaning to the facts.
01Feb2010

What is MMSEA Section 111 and How Does it Affect Me, My Practice and My Clients?

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By Katrina J. Valencia, Esq.
MMSEA Section 111 is the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute amended by Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (“MMSEA”).  Beginning on January 1, 2010, extensive new Medicare reporting obligations apply to all insurance companies,  self-insured businesses, and any other business that make payments to Medicare beneficiaries as a result of litigation claims.  
01Feb2010

A Low Tech Advantage in a High Tech World

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By Barbara Lynch, Staff Writer
Today’s technology certainly is cutting edge and it’s advancing at a very quick pace. We are continually introduced to new techno-gadgets and electronic ways of communication which, only naturally, is overshadowing the more simple “technology” from yesteryear that still exists and is still quite useful.
13Oct2009

Technology to the Rescue

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Imagine having all your contacts, appointments, and notes from your computer with you all the time. It was just a dream a few years ago, and even two years ago it was still an expensive dream. With new technology and less expensive products, this dream is now a reality for less than $200.
11Oct2009

Safety Standards: Key Links & Groups

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In many types of litigation, once the basic facts of the case are determined, there is still the matter of determining whether or not the act was preventable by following generally recognized procedures or standards. Issues of negligence and liability frequently turn on such questions, and there are many experts making a good living testifying on what those standards are.
01Oct2009

The Holding Pattern

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By Joshua Gilliland, Esq.
The past three years have seen an increase of cases highlighting litigation holds and the duty to preserve electronically stored information.  There is no shortage of cases that hold many “lessons learned” for attorneys and their clients. The Nightmare Litigation Hold Letter The Napster litigation gave us more than copyright law on music downloads;
03Sep2009

The Tribulations of Trials: Civil Case Statistics

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A few years ago we covered the declining number of civil cases being filed in both state and federal courts, a trend that began in the mid-80s and continues at least through 2003, the most recent year for which statistics are available. But there is another trend which predates, and perhaps causes this decline: a forty –
01Feb2009

Winning The Big One – Hard Work Paying Off

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I think that everyone dreams about winning “the big one,” that one victory that suddenly makes all your years of work worthwhile.  For a football player there is the Superbowl.  For a  writer there is the Pulitzer Prize.  For a doctor there is developing a new cure.  For an attorney there is winning a big case.
24Oct2008

Two Sides of Medical Malpractice

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Making Insurance Affordable The following is from interviews with Tom Packer of Gordon and Rees, LLP, in San Francisco, chairman of the Defense Research Institute’s Medical Liability and Health Care Law Committee, and Michael D. Shalhoub of New York City’s Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy and Bach, LLP, the committee’s vice-chair. Is there a crisis in the area of med mal insurance that needs to be addressed legislatively?
01Oct2008

Did the Opposing Side Hide Some Files?

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By Mark Kerzner, This Month’s Contributing Author
In usual requests for production, you have to rely on the opposing party to follow the correct protocol and to produce all relevant ESI. To verify or challenge the protocol, you need to substantiate the claim, pointing out the ESI that has not been produced.
01Jun2008

Musings on Meet and Confer

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By Craig Ball
It’s More Important for Lawyers to Ask the Right Questions than Know the Right Answers I cynically describe Rule 26(f) “meet and confer” sessions as “two lawyers who don’t trust each other negotiating matters neither understand.” In the unlikely event where there’s a face-to-face meeting, it’s something of a drive-by event with no substantive exchange of information.
25Apr2008

Safeguarding Tomorrow’s Intellectual Resources

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No emperor, two centuries ago, possessed the wealth of intellectual resources that the average citizen does today. Where an emperor had a few court musicians at his disposal, I have Beethoven, B.B. King and the Beatles sitting on my CD shelf, eagerly awaiting my beck and call. Nor do I ever have to wait for a troupe of players to come to town and put on their meager repertoire.
11Nov2007

Gear Up for Great War Rooms

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By Stacy Jackson, E Discovery, Austin, TX
When most people use the term “war room,” they might conjure up images of camouflaged men and the thud-thud-thud of helicopter blades. But in reality, a properly planned litigation war room can become a respite from the day-to-day grind of trial, a place where,
01Jun2001

Festo (Inventions & Patents)

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Once a quarter the Atkinson-Baker Newsletter, Discovery Update,TM features those topics that shape the law itself and its practice. We address a broad variety of topics such as: copyright laws, unpublished opinions, discovery rules, employment law, evidence, expert witnesses, deposition practices, handling of exhibits and many, many more.