Documents Filed Mere Moments Ago in LACW/LACAN v. CCEA/City of LA Case Quite Plausibly Accuse City of Los Angeles of Inaccurate Representations Regarding LAPD Discovery Capabilities

retain-unified-circleLast week attorneys for Los Angeles Catholic Worker and LA Community Action Network filed an application requesting that the City be held in contempt for its misfeasance in what has turned out to be painful, drawn-out discovery process. This morning, mere minutes ago, plaintiffs’ attorney Shayla Myers filed a supplemental declaration in support (along with an exhibit) in which she states:

I am producing this supplemental declaration to update the Court about facts which Plaintiffs have discovered since the ex parte motion to hold the City in contempt was filed. In particular, Plaintiffs have discovered that certain representations by the City of Los Angeles appear to be inaccurate. While the City of Los Angeles has maintained since July 2015 that it cannot do a global search of emails in the possession of the LAPD, Plaintiffs discovered at a deposition of the Person Most Knowledgeable on behalf of the City on February 22, 2016 that the LAPD employs e-discovery software that allows the LAPD to search all emails sent and received by LAPD officers since March 2013, that the software is designed to facilitate global keyword searches, and that when the LAPD has done such a search in the past, it was completed within a week.

You might recall that in December I wrote about Groupwise, the email software that LAPD uses, and the fact that there is a powerful eDiscovery suite called GWAVA Retain that integrates with it, making possible global email searches in reasonable amounts of time.1 At that time it appeared that the City was claiming that this was not possible, and my point was that if it was not possible, it was not possible due to a conscious choice on the City’s part. Now it turns out that, according to Leshon Frierson, LAPD IT person:

The LAPD has an email management software that it has used since March 2013, for the primary purpose of archiving emails and making it easy to produce emails in litigation and in response to requests for production. A true and correct copy of the description of the e-discovery software, Retain, which is used by the LAPD, is attached as Exhibit A.

The software is an add-on to the LAPD’s email software, Novell Groupwise 2012. The LAPD began using the software in March 2013 in response to Mr. Frierson’s repeated requests since 2008 that the City obtain software that would allow the LAPD to more easily and better respond to discovery requests and CPRA requests for emails.

And nobody thought to mention this before Ms. Myers called bullshit on their pitiful claims. It’s interesting that it was Frierson who admitted that LAPD uses Retain. You may recall that in a previous declaration, he claimed:

Second, with respect to emails sent or received after March 2013, a keyword search using the terms in paragraph 4 would also be impossible for LAPD given the state of its technology and its resources. Such a search would tie up the server for weeks and would require thousands of hours of employee time.

It seems as if that would have been a perfect time to mention that the LAPD had been using Retain since March 2013 so that the plaintiffs could check independently on the veracity of these claims. I wonder why he didn’t? Anyway, that’s the news. The application for contempt and sanctions is still pending, but the smart money thinks it’s going to be granted. Stay tuned!

  1. Global meaning not tied to a specified email address, but only to given keywords across all emails in the system.
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