August 08, 2005

Pre-trial discovery disclosure and its central role in the outcome of the Coleman (Parent) Holdings, Inc. v. Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. securities fraud case was the focal point of a three panel program at the American Bar Association Meeting in Chicago addressing the current state of discovery in commercial cases – specifically document retention, electronic discovery and deposition strategy in an era of time limits.

Jenner & Block Chairman Jerold S. Solovy recounted his recent experience as a successful lead attorney in Coleman, which garnered national attention.  Mr. Solovy explained how the effect of lax retention policies can play an important – even pivotal – role in a trial.  In this case, a Palm Beach, Florida jury returned a $604.3 million verdict and $850 million in punitive damages in favor of Mr. Solovy's client against Morgan Stanley after several pre-trial e-discovery rulings, which included important sanctions for failing to conduct proper searches for tapes that might contain e-mails, and for failing to use reasonable efforts to search the newly discovered tapes. 

Mr. Solovy credited the willingness of his client in Coleman to pursue extensive discovery, which led to the uncovering of the alleged irregularities and led to the largest known jury verdict in a securities fraud case involving a single plaintiff. 

The panel was moderated by Robert L. Haig, Partner, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.  Other panelists included Frances P. Kao, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Patricia Lee Refo, Partner, Snell & Wilmer, LLP.  The panel was sponsored by the ABA Section of Litigation CLE program.