Congress Takes Up Skyrocketing Costs of E-Discovery

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November 06, 2013

A Congressional hearing looked at possible reforms that are intended to reduce the time and cost of civil litigation, the National Law Journal ($) reports.

“Litigation takes too long and it’s too expensive,” Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown testified at the hearing. “And that’s not good for plaintiffs and that’s not good for defendants.”

“The cost of the U.S. legal system … is growing significantly as a result of electronic discovery,” he added. “The tremendous growth in electronically stored information – combined with discovery rules formulated for the typewriter-and-paper era – have produced an exponential growth in discovery-related litigation costs”

Pincus testified that the reform proposals to the federal civil discovery process are moderate. In fact, the principal proposed amendment to the scope of discovery – requiring that discovery be proportional to the needs of the case – is already included in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. It would just be moved in order to give it greater emphasis.

The price tag of electronic discovery can be staggering. A recent study found the median cost of producing electronically stored information to be $1.8 million. Our legal system is increasingly producing outcomes unrelated to the merits of cases, but rather tied to the defendants’ litigation expenses.