The Forensics Group If evidence can be found.. we will find it

Case Studies

  • SEC investigation of public company. A publicly held company was subject to an SEC investigation and we were retained to assist in its defense. Electronic discovery experts collected data from various locations in the U.S. and Japan. A dedicated electronic discovery lab was built where attorneys were teamed up with forensic accountants and Japanese translators to review the data. Due to the language issues, several search and electronic translation tools were used. We analyzed hundreds of thousands of emails in order to respond to the SEC.
  • DOJ merger investigation. We provided consulting services in a Department of Justice investigation of a merger of two large companies. Work included data collection, both nationally and internationally, loading of data for web hosting review, and assisting with negotiating with the government on narrowing the data review. A team was put in place in Germany at one of the client locations as privacy regulations did not allow the data to leave the country without significant steps being taken, and keyword searching and review was done in German. Ultimately, the merger was approved by the DOJ.
  • Consultants passing on client info. We directed an internal investigation of a large accounting company with an office in Japan that discovered some of its consultants had been accessing client information and passing it on through outside email accounts. We were retained to go to Japan and review the accounting company’s computer systems on-site while being observed by both the accounting company and the client. The process involved dealing with Japanese language issues, data stored in multiple languages, and software created in a Japanese operating system.
  • $250 million missing at bankrupt company. A major law firm contacted us when it was found out that $250 million of investment money was unaccounted for at a company that had gone bankrupt days before. We led the team that located intellectual property assets, rebuilt the accounting system, interviewed the executive staff, and helped determine what technology assets could be safely sold without interfering with legal requirements surrounding a FBI subpoena that had been issued.
  • Employee bolts for competitor. We were engaged as the forensics expert when an employee left a firm for the competitor. It was suspected that the former employee took intellectual property with him to the competitor. We reviewed the hard drives of the former employer and uncovered that there had been an attempt to scrub the hard drives, email had been deleted, and intellectual property had been copied through the internet.
  • Insurance company accused of stealing intellectual property. We assisted an insurance company that was being accused of stealing intellectual property from a rival company. The case required preservation and collection of data from the multiple employees’ home computers – each with different technology systems.

  • Executives leave to form competing company. In a dispute involving several members of a company’s executive team who left to form a competing company, we were retained to guide the electronic discovery process. In addition, we were asked to testify to the forensics and electronic discovery performed by the other side. This matter involved traveling to Pakistan for the investigation, among other unique challenges. 

Law and Justice

Landmark Cases:

World Courier v. Barone, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31714 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 16, 2007).

The husband of a defendant admitted destroying a hard drive on a computer at the couple's residence, which contained a copy of plaintiff's data. The court decided sanctions that included an adverse inference jury instruction and plaintiff's fees and costs in obtaining the sanctions were warranted. The affirmative duty of a party to preserve evidence extended to evidence "not directly within the party's custody or control so long as the party has access to or indirect control over such evidence."

Trigon Ins. Co. v. United States, 204 F.R.D. 277, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18824, 88 A.F.T.R.2d (RIA) 6883, 51 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 378, 57 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (CBC) 664 (E.D. Va. Nov. 9, 2001).

  In the case, the United States was sanctioned for destruction of evidence by a retained litigation consultant. The court determined that the United States had a duty to preserve the documents, but took no steps to preserve them. Nor could it blame the consultant's document retention policy; the policy conflicted with the rules governing litigation, and so would not shield the government from a finding of intentional destruction of evidence. Ultimately, computer forensics experts were able to retrieve much of the destroyed information.

Playboy Enterprises Inc. v. Welles, 60 F. Supp. 2d 1050, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12895, 45 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 981 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 2, 1999).

Playboy sued ex-Playmate Terri Welles, alleging Welles' use of the Playboy name and logo on her personal website infringed upon its trademarks. Welles counterclaimed for defamation and interference with prospective business advantage. Welles admitted during discovery that she had routinely deleted email communications during the course of the litigation, despite Playboy's requests for production seeking such documents. Playboy therefore moved the court for an order compelling Welles to provide Playboy access to her computer hard drive so Playboy could make a "mirror image" of the drive and review the emails for responsive items.  The court ruled that the information on the defendant's hard drive was discoverable and granted access to Welles’ hard drive to recover deleted emails.