Custom Indexing of Archival Data to Support Asbestos Litigation Discovery Effort

May 2021
Custom Indexing Of Archival Data

247Digitize recently completed a massive unitization and custom coding project for a high profile case concerning asbestos exposure litigation.  This case involved review of 2.7 million pages of historical records dating back over 60 years to determine the extent to which products suspected of causing health risks were distributed to purchasers over an extensive time period.

About our Client: Our Client has been a trusted partner of 247Digitize since our inception in 2006.  With offices throughout the world, they are a recognized leader in crafting solutions for large corporations and law firms grappling with class action suits.  Their client was in the early stages of discovery when it became apparent that costs were spiraling out of control and the case team was overwhelmed with the enormity of their document collection.

By the Numbers…..

  • 2,727,734 pages of historical data unitized for review
  • 675,608 documents indexed – 5.5 million fields coded
  • Estimated $1.1 M saved over a 6 month period

Challenge:   2.7 million pages of historical data sales data and correspondence had to be reviewed for responsiveness and issue tagging.  The collection was a monolith of poorly organized and barely legible files.  For any successful review to occur, the records first had to be unitized via Logical Document Determination (LDD). This would allow keyword searching without returning scores of unrelated documents.  The client would also have to find a way to categorize the resulting records so a custom searching approach could be crafted.  An army of contract attorneys had been assembled for the task but had made little progress with these first level processes leaving timely completion of the review in jeopardy.

Solution:  Our IT team coordinated rolling exports of images from the client to allow logical unitization to begin within a day of project commencement.  The Project Management team conducted a full demonstration of our unitization workflow to assure the client of our proficiency and also coordinated inclusion of custom LDD instructions to ensure related documents could be searched and retrieved together.  Comfortable with the approach, unitization activities were immediately transferred to our team and incremental deliveries of unitized records back to the case team commenced on the 3rd production day.

Unique problems require equally unique solutions.  Leveraging our vast experience in back file conversion and archival indexing projects, a bespoke solution was presented to the client that would allow a 1st level categorization of the unitized records followed by custom coding based on the category to facilitate targeted searches and avoid a costly linear review.  Our plan was readily accepted by the client and their case team set about the categorization and development of custom coding fields while the unitization was completed.  By working around the clock, the unitization team was able to complete their task within 4 weeks – 2 weeks ahead of schedule!

The case team had determined 8 specific categories of records to be coded for custom data – up to 10 fields per document.  An aggressive timeline was proposed that would have the coding completed within 4 months.  To accomplish this, a large pool of resources with experience working with older document collections were assembled for the task.  These resources were also well trained in Coding directly within Relativity, which would allow the client to monitor progress and ensure continuity with the efforts of the contract review team. Within 2 weeks, the coding team was churning out 40,000 documents per week and toward the end of the project, this was increased to 55,000 allowing the project to conclude 5 weeks early with no idle time incurred by the contract review team.

Results:  Guiding a project to cost-effective and successful conclusion starts with assigning the right resources.  By leveraging document unitization and litigation coding experts with a specific skill set built for fast and accurate results, the client was able to focus their contract review team on relevancy and issue coding.  Our approach is all about efficiency – creating solutions that save time and money without sacrificing the accuracy so crucial to discovery.

Contact us at info@247digitize.comfor more details.