The Wall Street Journal article on the front page today and yesterday made it clear to anyone who did not already know that “electronic discovery” can be a determining factor in the outcome of almost any major case. The article recounts what in my view is a surprising outcome (based on the initial claim) of Ron Perelman’s lawsuit against Morgan Stanley in connection with Morgan Stanley’s role on behalf of Sunbeam when it purchased Perelman’s interest in Coleman. It appears that problems that Morgan Stanley had with electronic discovery resulted in an adverse instruction to the Florida jury at the beginning of the trial, and the result yesterday was a jury verdict against Morgan Stanley of $604 million, and there may be punitive damages to follow.
I am giving a seminar tomorrow on Electronic Discovery Basics to a group of CFOs, and the referenced article in the WSJ could not be more timely to emphasize how important it is for companies to be prepared for electronic discovery before they are involved in a lawsuit.