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The Six Most Relevant Recent Mobile eDiscovery Cases

InspectionImportant Mobile Device Cases

1.  Regas Cristou vs. Beatport.  (ESI on Mobile Devices is Covered by Litigation Holds)

Court ruled that ESI stored on mobile devices is subject to Litigation Holds just like any other ESI.  CEO of Beatport was sanctioned for “losing” his mobile device during litigation when he was ordered (under a lit hold) to  protect all ESI.

2.  EEOC vs. Honey Baked Ham.  (Mobile Phone ESI is Discoverable)

A number of former and current employees of Honey Baked Ham sued Honey Baked for sexual harassment and discrimination.  During the investigation, Honey Baked discovered that a number of the class action plaintiffs had used their mobile devices to text about the case and had also posted relevant comments related to the case on various social media sites.  Honey Baked successfully obtained an order requiring a number of the plaintiffs to produce their mobile devices for a forensic exam AND ordered them to produce the log-in credentials for their social media accounts.  The forensic exam was performed under an agreed protocol by a special eDiscovery master.

3.  United States vs. British Petroleum.  (Criminal Liability for Deleting Mobile Device Text Messages)

A BP engineer was indicted after he deleted incriminating text messages from his mobile device during a federal investigation.  The text messages were recovered and were incriminating.  The messages were related to the flow rates of oil that was leaking from the doomed oil valve at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

4. Coyote Ugly Case.  (Judge Orders Social Media Evidence Discoverable)

Female patron of a Coyote Ugly bar was injured when she fell from a bar top.   She sued the bar.  Mobile device photos taken by the injured person’s friends (and later posted to Facebook) became discoverable when the judge ordered the injured person to “friend” him so that he could inspect the photos.

5.  Facebook Sanctions Case.  (Attorney Sanctioned for Facebook Spoliation)Social media communication

An attorney and his client were sanctioned $700K and then the attorney lost his law license when he advised his client to “clean up” his Facebook page during litigation in a $10Mi wrongful death case.   The Plaintiff (the dead woman’s husband) had posted photos of himself wearing a T-shirt with the message “I Love Hot Moms” on the front shortly after his wife’s death.

6.  EEOC vs. Yellow Freight.  (Photo Recovered from Mobile Device is Critical)

4Discovery computer forensics experts recovered a photo of a noose hanging from a forklift from a cell phone that was instrumental in the $10 Million award granted to several class action plaintiffs in a racial discrimination case brought against Yellow Freight.

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About Jeff Hartman

Jeff is a 30 year veteran of the corporate security, computer forensics, and eDiscovery community and a co-founder and partner at 4Discovery. 4Discovery is a leading provider of computer incident response and computer forensics services to attorneys, corporate security executives, and the information protection community.