Legal Ethics

Focus on Day Casebeer in Discovery Probe

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New court filings put the spotlight on a Silicon Valley law firm in a judge’s effort to find out why Qualcomm Inc. failed to turn over hundreds of thousands of discovery documents.

Declarations filed yesterday focused on 21 potentially damaging e-mails that were withheld from Broadcom Corp. in a patent dispute, the Recorder reports. In the filings, Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder partner Lee Patch reveals that he approved an associate’s conclusion that the e-mails were not responsive to discovery requests. Yet Patch never read the documents, according to the story.

During the trial, a judge had asked about the e-mails when a Qualcomm employee mentioned them in testimony. Patch told the judge he had not seen them. “I now appreciate that I may have inadvertently created the misimpression that I had become aware of their existence either just then or the previous day,” he wrote. His aim, he said, was to suggest that the court needed to analyze the documents for relevance.

Day Casebeer says in the court filings that its lawyers “acted in good faith, without an intent to conceal evidence,” and sanctions are not warranted. Patch’s lawyer stresses that the court probe is into the volume of documents that were withheld, rather than the 21 e-mails.

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