And so the divorce case winds up generating massive demands for hard drive contents and other electronic discovery. Draconian spoliation sanctions, as exemplified in the Morgan Stanley-Perelman and Zubulake-UBS Warburg cases, make a potentially fatal trap for the unwary:
Defense lawyers complain that their clients often are forced to supply voluminous information at great cost with little benefit. And because there is so much more information potentially subject to a discovery order, the chances are greater that a client might violate the order by inadvertently deleting data.
“Does this enhance justice? Not usually,” said Tess Blair, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius L.L.P., who heads the 1,350-lawyer firm’s electronic-data-discovery unit. “It becomes a weapon in many cases.”
(Chris Mondics, “Ediscovery profoundly changing lawyering”, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jun. 8).