E-Discovery technology is essential to counsel. But if counsel isn’t completely versed in using the software, particularly how to redact confidential information, it can prove disastrous. Just ask one lawyer representing Wells Fargo.
The ABA Journal reported the unfortunate event that occurred for Angela Turiano of Bressler, Amery & Ross, her client, and tens of thousands of Wells Fargo’s wealthiest clients.
In a defamation suit pitting a former Wells Fargo employee, Gary Sinderbrand, against his brother and current Wells Fargo employee, Steven Sinderbrand, Turiano was overseeing the e-discovery.
In an effort comply with the third-party subpoena request for emails between Steven and Wells Fargo, Turiano reviewed what she thought was a complete list of results the e-discovery software had found. In fact, what she had reviewed was a limited set of documents available in “a view.”
Turiano then marked certain documents within that limited set as privileged and confidential and turned over the complete results, which contained documents Turiano had not reviewed. She also did not properly redact documents in that set that required redacting.
As a result, Turiano produced documents that contained a large number of Wells Fargo’s customer names, Social Security numbers, and financial data.
The ABA reports that New York and New Jersey judges have responded to the grave error by stopping the release of more documents and requiring the plaintiff to turn the digital file over to the court and delete any document copies.
The New York Law Journal states that this incident shows “the increasing risks of relying on unfamiliar e-discovery technology,” which could also increase liability for lawyers.
It’s imperative that counsel not only work with a reputable e-discovery vendor, but also have a complete understanding of the powerful software tool that is not only intended to cut down on time and cost, but also to ensure accuracy and confidentiality along the way.