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Bridgestone Americas, Inc. v. Int. Bus. Machs. Corp., Midstream Switch to Predictive Coding Approved

In this case, Bridgestone Americas sued defendant IBM for more than $600 million in actual and punitive damages over a companywide computer system that allegedly had a devastating effect on Bridgestone’s business operations, throwing them into “chaos.” After the initial review of over 2 million pages was begun using search terms, Bridgestone Americas sought a modification to the case management order to permit the use of predictive coding. Defendants opposed the new approach as an unwarranted change to the case management order given the fact that the initial screening was done with search terms. In his order, the magistrate judge noted that “in the final analysis” using predictive coding is a “judgment call” which hopefully keeps in mind the Rule 26 requirement that discovery be “tailored by the court to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.” The judge noted that as this case involves the review of millions of documents with the cost in the millions, there is “no single, simple, correct solution possible.” In allowing the plaintiff to use predictive coding on documents that have been identified based upon search terms, the judge acknowledged he was allowing plaintiff to “switch horses in midstream.” The court noted that while predictive coding was not one of IBM’s products, they are “a sophisticated user of advanced methods for integrating and reviewing large amounts of data.” The court emphasized that given the change in approach, “openness” and “transparency” would be of “critical importance” and that the parties’ attorneys and experts should “communicate on a frequent and open basis.” Noting that he was most concerned that the case not get tied up in “unnecessary wrangling,” the judge directed the parties to not delay in scheduling time with him in the event they reach a sticking point.

Bridgestone Americas, Inc. v. Int. Bus. Machs. Corp., No. 3:13-1196 (M.D. Tenn. July 22, 2014)

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