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SUMMATION NEWSLETTER FALL 2002: Ted Brooks Orchestrates Discovery/Trial Efforts in $975 Million Settlement

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 future claims).

The settlement was reached in no small part thanks to the guidance of litigation consultant Ted Brooks of Litigation Technology Consulting 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)

Ted Brooks, Founder and CEO
E-mail Ted

IN SUMMATION - A Quarterly Newsletter published by Summation Legal Technologies, Inc.® - Fall 2002. View a complete PDF version of Summation's quarterly newsletter with the latest news and events. You may request a printed copy by

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…We 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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