Recently, Master Short of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice canvassed the present state of litigation document management software and the potential difficulties that must be overcome by counsel working co-operatively.
In Apotex Inc. v. Richter Gedeon Vegyeszeti Gyar RT,  O.J. No. 2718, the defendant Ercros moved for a further and better affidavit of documents, including a particularized privilege schedule, and production of all relevant documents in the power, possession and control of the plaintiff, Apotex.
Apotex moved for assistance in the particularization and the provision of enhanced electronic access to Ercros’ productions. Apotex alleged that the DVD originally produced by Ercros did not sufficiently describe its documents and further, that Apotex had experienced difficulty in retrieving specific documents from it. Ercros then produced its documents in a Summation Briefcase to allow Apotex to import the documents directly into its own document management software. Apotex took the position that was insufficient.
Master Short favoured Ercros, citing the new Rules of Civil Procedure, The Sedona Canada Principles®, and the test for proportionality. Ercros was granted the relief sought, while Apotex’s motion was dismissed. The provision of the Summation Briefcase was deemed sufficient in that Apotex had no further difficulties accessing the Ercros productions.
Lessons Learned (and to be learned)
Noting that “there are lessons to be learned by the profession on how to deal with what are clearly problems that are contributed to by enhanced modern computing power and software”, Master Short commented favourably on counsel’s efforts in this case to fashion a sensible solution to the problems encountered. The use of electronic production to gain tactical advantage was discouraged:
The requirement, in part arising from the “equality of arms” component of proportionality, does not mean that a party need provide a computer system to their opponents, but they do need to work together to facilitate the exchange of information and a practical production and exchange of the “bibliographic data” attached to their productions.” (para. 71)
What does this case mean?
This case stands for a number of interesting and useful discovery propositions, including:
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