One of the largest asbestos settlements ever made was reached earlier
this year in Alameda County, California. The case -- Western MacArthur
Co., et al. v. U.S.F.&G., et al. -- yielded $975 million to resolve
approximately 20,000 underlying personal injury asbestos cases filed in
the county from approximately 1982 through present (and for additional
The settlement was reached in no small part thanks to the guidance of
litigation consultant Ted Brooks of Litigation Technology Consulting www.litigationtech.com
in San Francisco. Brooks was retained by plaintiffs' counsel (Faricy &
Roen PC, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, and Miller, Starr &
Regalia) to make sense of the massive amounts of discovery generated in
the eight-year long case, and to orchestrate the daunting task of trial
presentation. Brooks, in turn, looked to Summation for data storage and
retrieval, and inData's Trial Director for presentation.
"During the entire life of this case, there were no data failures
or serious problems with Summation," Brooks said. "That's an
incredible thing, as we're talking eight years here.
Asbestos litigation can be a very complex matter, involving some very
old documentation. When this case began, there simply was no other option
to intelligently house a massive quantity of fully searchable, coded data.
That's still pretty much the case today. Without Summation, there would
have been no way to work with the mountain of data." Summation's
easy integration with TrialDirector was a key component in organizing
the case into a cogent presentation. "As trial technology consultants,
we often get involved in a case much later than we would prefer,"
Brooks added. "The fact that we can quickly move a case into a program
like Trial Director is a great benefit (and necessity) to us."
|The data managed in the case was of jaw dropping
proportions. It included:
- 10 Trial Databases (not including several testing, export,
import, and case buildup databases), with as many as 50 users
- 105 GB digitized deposition video (Combined video runtime:
13 [24 hour] days, 7 hours, 14 minutes, 44 seconds)
- Combined deposition excerpt runtime: 2 [24 hour] days, 13
hours, 12 minutes, 53 seconds
- 2322 Deposition excerpts (not counting several hundred used
for editing purposes)
- 100 videotaped deposition transcripts (not counting many
taped but not digitized)
- Nearly 900 demonstrative graphic exhibits
- 15.48 GB document data
- 164204 TIFF images (all parties, not counting hundreds of
thousands in case buildup data)
IN SUMMATION - A Quarterly Newsletter published by Summation Legal
Technologies, Inc.® - Fall 2002. View a complete PDF version of
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The $975 million settlement the plaintiffs received in Western MacArthur
Co. is sweet reward for putting technology to work in the courtroom. But
perhaps as sweet (at least to those who work behind the scenes to make
courtroom pyrotechnics come to life) are the words of Judge Bonnie Sabraw,
addressing the jury at the trial's conclusion: "I want you to know
that you have had an opportunity by being jurors on this case to participate
in one of the most well-prepared, if not the most well-prepared, cases
that I have seen, that you have been on the cutting edge as far as technology
in the courtroom, that you have had an opportunity to see a case presented
by people who clearly know what they're doing and how to do it
have some technology that I have not used in my courtroom before. And
we all had some concern about how is that going to work, and it worked
very, very well."
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Top Five High-Profile Trial
Blunders and How to Avoid Them in Your Own Practice - by Ted Brooks, a TechnoLawyer
View the verdict video here!
Your article was one of the best we ever published! Thank you!
Neil J. Squillante