Federal Court Approves for First Time Computer-Assisted Document Review

On February 24, a Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge held that computer-assisted review is an acceptable way to search for electronically stored information. Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe, No. 11-1279, 2012 WL 607412 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 24, 2012). The court explained that computer-assisted coding is the use of sophisticated algorithms to enable the computer to determine relevance, based on interaction with a human reviewer. The court then described traditional e-discovery keyword searches and manual review as, in some cases, “over-inclusive,” “quite costly,” and “not very effective.” In certain cases, the court concluded, computer-assisted review is the better approach. The judge then detailed the factors that favored computer-assisted predictive coding in this case: (i) the parties’ agreement to use predictive coding; (ii) the size of the entire data set (more than 3 million documents); (iii) the accuracy of predictive coding compared to traditional methods; (iv) the need for cost effectiveness and proportionality under Rule 26(b)(2)(C); and (v) the “transparent” review process proposed by the defendant.

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