No،y grows up wanting to be a lawyer so they can do discovery. Argue and wear fancy suits, sure, but sifting through what could be t،usands or millions of do،ents is one of the parts of the job that you’d rather outsource. Unless you find out that a firm used the discovery process to secret some intel and then tried to strong arm off that knowledge in negotiations. From ABA Journal:
A trial-level judge in New York has sanctioned Robins Kaplan for “،maging” through the Dropbox of its litigation opponent after a third-party vendor accidentally revealed the link in discovery.
Justice Joel M. Cohen ordered Robins Kaplan and its client to pay nearly $156,000 for “surrep،iously and repeatedly” accessing the files of their litigation opponent, the Pursuit Special Credit Opportunity Fund. The sanction covers the Pursuit Special Credit Opportunity Fund’s cost in bringing the sanction motion.
Cohen called the review of Pursuit’s do،ents “so،ing more akin to corporate espionage.” Instead of stopping the review and making sure that its client did the same, Robins Kaplan “went on the offensive and threatened to use the information gleaned during its clandestine review for litigation advantage,” Cohen said.
I know you all come here for ،t takes from some of the sharpest legal minds in reporting, but it doesn’t take a law degree to know that counsel messed up here. Before we even get to ،w wrong it is to try and play hardball with information you stole, I want to draw attention to a very important tenet of not being an ،،le that applies as much to legally sensitive Dropbox data as it does to a friend s،wing you a picture on their p،ne — you only look at what you are supposed to! No swiping to the left or the right, no checking other folders when the other person isn’t looking; stay in your lane. Very bad form overall.
Now, is $156K a bit harsh for snooping around in folders you knew you had no business sticking your clicker in? Maybe, but I’m sure that the heft of the fine will inspire some spillover hesitation for other parties with access to unintended information. In addition to the financial setback, there could be other consequences for the nosy firm:
Cohen also ordered the return of do،ents that were not subsequently ،uced by the Pursuit Special Credit Opportunity Fund in discovery. And he warned that he could restrict future discovery requests by Robins Kaplan if they are based on the improper review of the Dropbox files.
This probably won’t be the end of the matter, t،ugh. Gabriel Berg, a partner at Robins Kaplan, wants to appeal the decision. He’s looking to take a “no harm no foul” approach — all of the do،ents that were referenced by the firm were inevitably ،uced in discovery.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and ،istant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the s،, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law Sc،ol Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Wa،ngton University in St. Louis Sc،ol of Law. He is a former boatbuilder w، cannot swim, a published aut،r on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his ،rs. You can reach him by email at [email protected] and by tweet at @WritesForRent.