Everyone who works in e-discovery knows it is a messy process and prone to errors. How many mistakes are too many though? We may soon find out. 

Sullivan & Cromwell Suit Against Vendor Highlights Problems With E-Discovery (National Law Journal, 7 Jan 07) reports that S&C is suing e-discovery vendor EED:

“In a complaint filed Dec. 28, 2007, in the Southern District of New York, Sullivan & Cromwell said, “untimely and inaccurate” work by Electronic Evidence Discovery Inc. (EED) hindered the law firm’s staffing arrangements and caused it to expend extra resources on discovery. The firm asked for a ruling that EED was not entitled to collect $710,000 in outstanding bills.”

In my experience, large law firms are not quick to become plaintiffs. While they don’t like to deal with vendor mistakes, they tolerate some errors and deadlines slipping generally, even more so for e-discovery. So the fact that a large law firm is suing a vendor suggests, in my opinion, particularly bad vendor problems, action to protect a client relationship, or heading off a malpractice claim.

Update (9 Jan 2008) On January 8th, EED filed suit against Sullivan & Cromwell. “EED seeks to enforce the terms of its contract with Sullivan & Cromwell and to recover outstanding fees for services rendered during early- and mid-2007.” The press release also quotes the CEO saying that this is “dispute regarding payment of a valid receivable.”