Title of Invention

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ELECTRONICALLY MANAGING DISCOVERY PLEADING INFORMATION

Abstract A system and method for electronically managing discovery pleading information in which a user having an instant discovery request can search a repository to access prior discovery requests and corresponding responses to aid in formulating a response to the instant discovery request. The corresponding prior discovery responses include the documentary and other information previously produced in response to the prior discovery request, and may also include the text of the response itself. In this way the inventive system and method promotes efficiency and consistency in responding to discovery requests.
Full Text GP-303763
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR ELECTRONICALLY MANAGING DISCOVERY
PLEADING INFORMATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to managing legal documents,
and, in particular, to a system and method for electronically managing discovery
pleading information.
[0002] Legal matters often involve large volumes of information that must be
organized and categorized in response to particular inquires or issues, such as
litigation pleadings, business transactions, government regulations, and other legal
matters. The information is typically managed by a centralized organization, such as
a legal department or group therein having document coordinators. Managing this
legal information often requires organizing both textual pleading information as well
as discovery documents produced in response to discovery requests associated with
the pleadings.
[0003] Existing methods for managing pleading information often result in
inconsistent responses across similar discovery requests. Although current litigation
support systems may support the storage of historical pleading textual information
and produced document information, they do not provide a link between these two
repositories. This is especially true when a link is sought on an enterprise basis (i.e.,
the ability to compare responses in different cases or matters). Typically, pleading
textual information is stored in one repository and produced document information is
stored in a separate repository. There is no automated method of determining the
documents that were produced in response to a discovery request associated with a
particular pleading. A document coordinator must keep track of the produced
documents and tie them to one or more pleadings. An attorney responding to a new
discovery request does not have visibility to previous pleadings that contain similar
discovery requests nor does the attorney have visibility to documents that were
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produced in response to similar discovery requests. This can occur both for pleadings
in the same case or matter as well as for similar pleadings in different cases or matters
that involve similar issues. The attorney can attempt to get this information from the
document coordinators but this can be time consuming and hit or miss because the
document coordinator may track tens of thousands of discovery requests and
corresponding produced document information. This does not result in a high level of
confidence in the ability to accurately and consistently respond to similar pleadings
and discovery requests.
[0004] Inconsistent responses across similar discovery requests may result
in claims of intentionally incomplete or inaccurate responses. Inconsistent responses
involve both the textual responses to discovery pleadings as well as the documents
and other information produced in response to the discovery request. Thus, it is
desirable for a litigation support system to provide consistency in textual and
production responses by allowing the storage and retrieval of historical pleading
textual information and produced document information. This consistency needs to
exist both within a specific case or matter, as well as across different cases or matters
involving similar issues. Ideally, to ensure the greatest level of consistency and
accuracy in litigation responses, it would be desirable if the system could link the
historical pleading textual information and the produced document information.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
[0005] According to one aspect of the invention, a system and method are
provided for electronically managing discovery pleading information in which a user
having an instant discovery request can search a repository to access prior discovery
requests and corresponding responses to aid in formulating a response to the instant
discovery request. The corresponding prior discovery responses include the
documentary and other information previously produced in response to the prior
discovery request, and may also include the text of the response itself. In this way the
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inventive system and method promotes efficiency and consistency in responding to
discovery requests.
[0006] In another aspect of the inventive system and method for
electronically managing discovery pleading information, the prior discovery
responses accessible in the searchable repository include links to copy the
documentary and other information previously produced in response to the prior
discovery request for production in response to the instant discovery request.
Similarly, a link may be provided to copy the text of the prior discovery response for
inclusion in the response to the instant discovery request where appropriate. As a
result, the inventive system and method promotes efficiency and consistency in
responding to the instant discovery request.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0007] Referring to the exemplary drawings wheiein like elements are
numbered alike in the several FIGURES:
[0008] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an exemplary system for managing
pleadings;
[0009] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of database tables utilized by exemplary
embodiments of the present invention;
[0010] FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of an exemplary process for viewing, adding,
and modifying pleadings for a selected case;
[0011] FIG. 4 is an exemplary case retrieval user interface screen for
facilitating case searches;
[0012] FIG. 5 is an exemplary case information user interface screen for
viewing case information associated with a selected case;
[0013] FIG. 6 is an exemplary pleading information user interface screen for
viewing, editing, and/or adding pleading information relating to a particular case;
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[0014] FIG. 7 is an exemplary question/response information user interface
screen for viewing, editing, and/or adding pleading question and response information
for a particular pleading;
[0015] FIG. 8 is an exemplary discovery type user interface screen for
specifying pleading types and sets for a pleading;
[0016] FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of an exemplary screen flow for conducting
pleading information searches;
[0017] FIG. 10 is an exemplary interface screen for building new search
queries and viewing existing search queries;
[0018] FIG. 11 is an exemplary user interface screen for selecting previously-
created search queries;
[0019] FIG. 12 is an exemplary user interface screen for specifying sort
preferences relating to results of pleading information searches conducted;
[0020] FIG. 13 is an exemplary user interface screen for saving search queries
to a query log; and
[0021] FIG. 14 is an exemplary user interface screen for displaying the results
of a pleading information search.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
[0022] Referring to FIG. 1, a block diagram of an exemplary system for
managing pleadings is generally shown. The system includes a litigation support
application (LSA) that is executed by one more computer programs located on the
host system 104. The LSA manages litigation information and provides computer
processes to perform activities in support of legal matters. In particular, the LSA
supports the collection, storage, retrieval and review of discovery information for
litigation, regulatory or other matters where discovery information needs to be
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assembled. Discovery information is associated with one or more elements of a
pleading and includes documents such as drawings, test results, reports, letters, data,
computer files, records and any other type of information in any form that is sought
after in a pleading request and/or used in a pleading response (documents are also
referred to herein as documentary and other information). It will be appreciated that a
several related documents may be grouped together as a composite document such
that the composite document may be treated as a single grouped document or each as
individual documents in the LSA that can be separately or individually reviewed for
document decisions. A detailed description of the related invention related to
electronic management of composite documents in LSA is found in commonly
assigned patent application docket number GP-303764 entitled "System and Method
for Electronically Managing Composite Documents", filed the same day as the present
application, July 2, 2004 and which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
[0023] A pleading is a discovery request such as an interrogatory, letter
request, request for production, request for admission, initial disclosure, subpoena, or
any other type of discovery related request seeking information, data or documents.
One of the functions performed by the LSA system is the management of pleadings to
provide the ability to respond to discovery requests consistently and accurately.
[0024] The computer programs to execute the pleading management functions
are located on the host system 104 and include two modules: a question and answer
information module and a question and answer search module. The question and
answer information module is a case centric model, where a case refers to a legal
matter that may contain one or more pleadings. Once a user identifies a case, all
pleadings and pleading elements within the specified case will be available for
viewing and editing. A pleading element is an individual request (or question), an
individual response (or answer), or a specific portion of a request or response. The
question and answer information module allows for adding new pleadings and
pleading elements. Once the user has identified a case, the question and answer
information module allows a user to view, edit and add three types of information:
case information (view), pleading textual information (view, edit, add), and
question/response information (view, edit, add). The second module, the question
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and answer search module, allows the user to search for question and answer records
based on the case, pleading, question (number and/or text) and/or response (level
and/or text) information. You can also search for similar questions and answers
across cases using the question and answer module.
[0025] The system depicted in FIG. 1 includes one or more user systems 102
through which users at one or more geographic locations may contact the host system
104. The host system 104 executes computer instructions for managing pleadings
(e.g., the question and answer information module, and the question and answer
search module) and the user systems 102 are coupled to the host system 104 via a
network 106. Each user system 102 may be implemented using a general-purpose
computer executing a computer program for carrying out the processes described
herein. The user systems 102 may be personal computers (e.g., a lap top, a personal
digital assistant) or host attached terminals. If the user systems 102 are personal
computers, the processing described herein may be shared by a user system 102 and
the host system 104 (e.g., by providing an applet to the user system 102).
[0026] The network 106 may be any type of known network including, but not
limited to, a wide area network (WAN), a local area network (LAN), a global network
(e.g. Internet), a virtual private network (VPN), and an intranet. The network 106
may be implemented using a wireless network or any kind of physical network
implementation known in the art. A user system 102 may be coupled to the host
system through multiple networks (e.g., intranet and Internet) so that not all user
systems 102 are coupled to the host system 104 through the same network. One or
more of the user systems 102 and the host system 104 may be connected to the
network 106 in a wireless fashion. In one embodiment, the network is an intranet and
one or more user systems 102 execute a user interface application (e.g. a web
browser) to contact the host system 104 through the network 106. In another
exemplary embodiment, the user system 102 is connected directly (i.e., not through
the network 106) to the host system 104 and the host system 104 is connected directly
to or contains the storage device 108.
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[0027] The storage device 108 includes data relating to managing pleadings
and may be implemented using a variety of devices for storing electronic information.
It is understood that the storage device 108 may be implemented using memory
contained in the host system 104 or it may be a separate physical device. The storage
device 108 is logically addressable as a consolidated data source across a distributed
environment that includes a network 106. Information stored in the storage device
108 may be retrieved and manipulated via the host system 104 and/or via the user
system 102. A data repository containing prior pleadings (also referred to herein as
discovery requests) and corresponding discovery information (also referred to herein
as responses) is located on the storage device 108. The data repository contains one
or more historical pleading databases containing data related to historical pleadings,
historical pleading information and discovery information. A historical pleading is a
pleading or an element of a pleading that is stored in a database on the storage device
108. Historical pleading information refers to pleading textual information stored in a
database on the storage device 108 that relates to prior pleadings or to one or more
elements thereof. Pleading textual information refers to the textual information
associated with the pleading document itself or an element thereof including the text
of the request and the response. An element of a pleading is an individual request or
question, an individual response, or a specific portion of a request or a response.
[0028] Also stored in storage device 108 are search query logs and various
production related information. Search query logs contain data to track new and
reusable search queries. A production refers to discovery information that is
delivered to an opposing counsel in response to a request for information. A
production may include legends and numbering. Legends refer to a common footer
placed on each page of a set of documents produced that provides a reference to the
case or matter in which the production occurred. Each page of a document included
in a production is individually and sequentially numbered with a production prefix
and number associated to the case or matter in which the production occurred.
Production related information includes information such as a production set and a
working production set. A production set refers to a set of discovery information
gathered for a particular pleading (excludes the pleading text) and a working
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production set is the production set associated with a working pleading. A working
pleading (or instant pleading), as referred to herein, is the pleading currently selected
by the user to retrieve related historical pleading information and/or to work on a
production request. A working pleading is any element of the pleading and may
include a telephone call, an inquiry, a deposition, or any other request for information.
Further, a working pleading may be a standing collection. A standing collection is a
group of data, documents and other information related to a particular subject matter
(e.g., a product line, a case matter, an allegation type, a date range, a business
transaction or any other grouping of particular interest).
Databases in the data repository on the storage device 108 are contained in either a
privileged schema or a non-privileged schema. The privileged schema contains
documents that have been classified as privileged and the privileged portions of
documents classified as partially privileged. For documents that were originally in
the non-privileged schema and subsequently moved to the privileged schema, a
placeholder indicating that the document has been removed for privilege may remain
in the non-privileged schema. The non-privileged schema contains documents that
have been classified as non-privileged. In addition, documents may be classified as
partially privileged and include portions that are privileged and portions that are non-
privileged. For partially privileged documents, a copy of the document with the
privileged portions removed is stored in the non-privileged schema (along with a
placeholder for each portion of the document that has been removed, the placeholder
indicating the portion of the document that has been removed for privilege) and a full
copy of the document is stored in the privileged schema. Access to the privileged and
non-privileged schemas is based on the security levels associated with individual
users. A detailed description of the invention of LSA having the privileged and non-
privileged schema with appropriate document treatment is found in commonly
assigned patent application docket number GP-303762 entitled "System and Method
for Electronically Managing Privileged and Non-Privileged Documents", filed the
same day as the present application, July 2, 2004 and which is herein incorporated by
reference in its entirety.
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[0029] In exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the host system
104 operates as a database server and coordinates access to application data including
data stored on the storage device 108.
[0030] The host system 104 depicted in FIG. 1 may be implemented using one
or more servers operating in response to a computer program stored in a storage
medium accessible by the server. The host system 104 may operate as a network
server (e.g., a web server) to communicate with the user system 102. The host system
104 handles sending and receiving information to and from the user system 102 and
can perform associated tasks. The host system 104 may also include a firewall to
prevent unauthorized access to the host system 104 and enforce any limitations on
authorized access. For instance, an administrator may have access to the entire
system and have authority to modify portions of the system. A firewall may be
implemented using conventional hardware and/or software as is known in the art.
[0031] The host system 104 may also operate as an application server. The
host system 104 executes one or more computer programs (i.e., the question and
answer information module, and the question and answer search module) to provide
pleading management functions. One of the pleading management functions provided
by the computer programs is a search tool to allow a user to search for information
contained in the data repository. Processing may be shared by the user system 102
and the host system 104 by providing an application (e.g., Java applet) to the user
system 102. Alternatively, the user system 102 can include a stand-alone software
application for performing a portion or all of the processing described herein. As
previously described, it is understood that separate servers may be utilized to
implement the network server functions and the application server functions.
Alternatively, the network server, the firewall, and the application server may be
implemented by a single server executing computer programs to perform the requisite
functions.
[0032] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of database tables containing historical
pleading related data (e.g., historical pleadings, historical pleading information and
discovery information) that are utilized by exemplary embodiments of the present
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invention. The tables are stored within one or more databases that are located on the
storage device 108. Each database is located in either the privileged schema or the
non-privileged schema. Duplicate copies of the databases (and the associated tables)
directed to a particular case, legal department or other grouping may be located in
both the privileged schema and the non-privileged schema. The tables in the non-
privileged schema include records related to non-privileged data and the tables in the
privileged schema include records related to privileged data. The case table 202
includes a record for each case and each record includes fields relating to the case
such as a case number, case name, discovery related fields, and pleading related
fields.
[0033] FIG. 2 also includes a document table 204 that includes one record for
each document in the system. As used herein, a document includes drawings, test
results, reports, letters, data, computer files, records and any other type of pleading
related information in any form. In exemplary embodiments of the present invention,
the document table 204 includes fields for: a unique document identifier; a database
identifier to identify the database where the document is located; a privilege status for
the document field (e.g., partially privileged, fully privileged, and non-privileged) and
a document privilege category (e.g., attorney work product, and attorney client
privileged). Also included in the document table 104 may be case number, product
information and issue information, as well as dates and user-ids associated with any
updates. A typical document table 204 may include over a hundred fields for
searching on characteristics of the document. Documents are reviewed and decisions
(e.g., production status, privilege status and privilege category) applied to documents
by users with access to the LSA as well as by remote reviewers who do not have
access to the LSA. A detailed description of the invention of LSA for remote review
of documents is found in commonly assigned patent application docket number GP-
303765 entitled "System and Method for Electronically Managing Remote Review of
Legal Documents", filed the same day as the present application July 2, 2004 and
which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
[0034] FIG. 2 also depicts a database table 206 that includes fields to associate
a document to a particular database. Also shown in FIG. 2, is a document folder table
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208 to specify the connection between a document and one or more folders. A folder
is a collection of related documents. A subset of the fields in the document folder
table 208 includes a unique folder identifier, a document identifier, and a database
identifier for the folder. FIG. 2 also depicts a production document table 210 which
includes fields for tracking discovery information that has been produced. Fields in
the production document table 210 may include: a unique production document
identifier; a production folder identifier; a production identifier; a document identifier
that points to the source document; pleading and discovery information fields; and a
production privilege category (e.g., partially privileged, fully privileged, and non-
privileged) and status (e.g., locked, unlocked). A locked production document is a
document included in a production folder where all production activities such as
production numbering and printing have been completed and in which production
decisions can no longer be modified. An unlocked production document is a
document included in a production folder where a new production decision or
modification of an existing production decision can be applied to the document. A
production folder includes documents related to the same production. The discovery
set identifier field (which holds a discovery tracking number) enables discovery
information (both produced and non-produced) to be linked to corresponding
pleadings, questions, and answers. Questions are also referred to herein as 'requests'
in that a question may include a request for information, a request for samples,
admission of facts, etc. The question and answer (Q&A) table 212 includes fields
related to pleadings, questions and responses. A subset of fields associated with Q&A
table 212 include a pleading identifier; a question number; response number; question
text; and response text fields.
[0035] Also depicted in FIG. 2 is a query log table 214 that contains data to
track new and reusable search queries. Fields included in the query log table 214 may
include a unique query identifier; a query; an ID associated with the query owner; a
query date; a query name; and a query sort field. FIG. 2 also includes a discovery
type table 216 that includes fields for specifying pleadings for which a single
production response may be associated. The discovery type table 216 includes fields
such as discovery name, pleading set number, and pleading type. A pleading type
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refers to any specific pleading type such as an interrogatory, a request for admission, a
request for initial disclosure, etc. A mixed pleading is a pleading having different
pleading types or more than one pleading type included therein. A pleading set
includes pleadings with the same pleading type. A pleading set number is a
chronological number assigned to pleading sets of the same type (e.g., interrogatories
and mixed).
[0036] FIG. 3 is a flow diagram of an exemplary process, implemented by the
question and answer information module, for viewing, adding, and/or modifying
pleadings for a selected case. The process depicted in FIG. 3 is case centric and
enables a user to view, edit, and add data for a pleading on a case-by-case basis. At
302, a user selects a case (e.g., via a search tool) by entering case search criteria (e.g.,
case name, case number, model number, and any other fields located in the case table)
into a case retrieval screen such as the one depicted in FIG. 4 and described below. A
list of cases fitting the search criteria are presented to the user. The user selects one of
the cases and is presented with a case information screen for the selected case. An
example of a case information screen is depicted in FIG. 5 and described below. The
case information screen displays case heading information, pleadings in the case,
productions in the case and documents associated with the case.
[0037] At 304, a user is presented with the option to modify an existing
pleading if one exists in the case selected at 302. If the user does not select the
modify an existing pleading option at 304, then 306 is performed and the user is
presented with an option to create a new pleading. If the user selects create a new
pleading at 306, then 308 is performed to enter pleading textual information for the
new pleading via a pleading information screen. An exemplary pleading information
screen is depicted in FIG. 6 and described below. At 308, the user may also initiate
the creation of a discovery type name for the pleading. The discovery type name is
formed by concatenating the party type (e.g., DEF for defendant), the pleading type
(e.g., RFP for request for production and RFA for request for admission) and the
pleading set (e.g., set 1). FIG. 8 depicts an exemplary discovery type user interface
screen that may be utilized to create the discovery type name for the pleading. In
addition, at 308, the user is given the option of linking the pleading to a discovery
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tracking number, where the discovery tracking number is a unique identifier
associated with a production folder. This results in providing a link between the new
pleading and the discovery documents that were produced in response to the pleading.
[0038] If the user selects modify an existing pleading at 304, then 310 is
performed to select a pleading from the pleadings associated with the selected case.
The user is then presented with a pleading information user interface screen such as
the one depicted in FIG. 6 and described below. The pleading information user
interface screen contains pleading textual information associated with the selected
pleading and presents the user with the option to delete a pleading, to modify a
question/response set or to add a new question. If it is determined at 312, that the user
has selected delete the pleading, then 314 is performed to confirm that the user wants
to delete the pleading. If the user confirms the deletion (and has the proper authority),
then the pleading is deleted at 314. If the user does not select the option to delete the
pleading at 312, then processing continues at 316. If it is determined, at 316, that the
user has selected modify a question/response set-then 318 is performed to select a
question/response set from the pleading. A user interface screen such as the one
depicted in FIG. 7 may be utilized to modify the question/response set at 320. If the
user does not select the option to modify a question/response set at 316, then
processing continues at 322. If it is determined at 322 that the user has selected add a
new question, then 324 is performed to add a new question to the pleading. This may
be performed via a user interface screen such as the one depicted in FIG. 7.
[0039] An exemplary embodiment of a case retrieval user interface screen 400
is depicted in FIG. 4. The case retrieval user interface screen 400 includes various
search fields 402 available to the user. Available search fields include case name,
case number, a professional in charge (PIC) of the case, 'other professional'
associated with the case (e.g., administrative support personnel), and one or more
subject fields. For example, in a product liability case for an automotive
manufacturer, subject fields may include model year, and model description. These
subject fields are shown in FIG. 4 for illustrative purposes.
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[0040] Also-provided in FIG. 4 are operator fields 404 associated with each
search field. Each of the operator fields 404, in turn, include a list of available
operations that may be selected for the search fields 402. Operations may include
'equal to', 'not equal to', 'in', 'contains', 'not in', 'starts with', 'does not start with',
'does not contain', and 'ends with', among others. The case retrieval user interface
screen 400 further includes search term fields 406 that enable a user to enter specific
text to be searched. One or more of search fields 402, operator fields 404, and search
term fields 406 may be selected by the user. The search is initiated by selecting the
'Search' button 408. The LSA searches databases (e.g., via the search tool) on the
storage device 108 for cases that match the search criteria entered by the user. One or
more cases relating to the search criteria entered are retrieved from storage device 108
and presented to the user via frame 410. To view a case, the user highlights the
desired case in frame 410, followed by selecting 'OK' 412.
[0041] A sample case information user interface screen 500 is depicted in
FIG. 5. The case information user interface screen 500 provides the user with the
ability to view, edit and/or add specific pleadings, question and /or responses. The
case information user interface screen 500 includes a question and answer (Q&A)
folder tree 502, which displays the available pleadings for the selected case. The
folder tree 502 is organized in three levels: case folder, pleading folder, and
question/responses. As indicated above, a question is also referred to herein as a
'request' in that a question may include a request for information, samples, admission
of facts, etc. The case folder 504 (e.g., 300028 BRIAN THOMAS) represents the
highest level. Within each case folder 504, one or more pleading folders 512 are
provided. Each pleading folder 512 further comprises one or more question/response
sets (not shown). For the selected case, the case information user interface screen 500
presents a pleadings frame 506, a pleading documents frame 508, a case information
frame 510, and a case subject and an allegation information frame 513. Navigation
buttons 514 are provided within each frame for scrolling between records displayed in
the frame.
[0042] The pleadings frame 506 lists the pleadings contained in the case
folder 504 that are selected in the folder tree 502. Specifically, the pleadings frame
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506 displays the pleading name in a pleading name field 507, the discovery tracking
number (if the pleading is associated with a production) in a discovery tracking
number field 516, the party type in a party type field 518 (e.g., Plaintiff, Claimant,
Buyer, etc.), the party name in a party name field 520, a supplemental response
number in a supplemental response number field 522, the pleading type in a pleading
type fields 524, and set number in a set number field 526. The supplemental response
number field 522 is an optional field used to specify the response number when the
entity files an additional, or supplemental, response to the initial (or previous)
pleading.
[0043] The contents of the pleading documents frame 508 will vary depending
upon the level of the hierarchy (e.g., case folder level 504, pleading folder 512, or a
question/response level) selected in the folder tree 502. For example, when the case
folder level 504 is selected, all of the pleading documents and text available for all of
the pleadings assigned to the case are displayed. When the pleading folder level (e.g.,
one of folders 512) is selected, all of the pleading documents and text available for the
selected pleading are displayed. When the question level (not shown) is selected, the
pleading documents and text available for the pleading, which contain the selected
question, are displayed.
[0044] The case information frame 510 provides general case information
such as the case number in a case number field 534, the case name in field 536, the
practice area (e.g., Labor) in a practice area field 538, the professional in charge in a
professional in charge field 540, the lead outside counsel firm in a lead outside
counsel field 542, other professionals involved with the case in an other professionals
field 544, and similar types of information.
[0045] Various options provided via the case information user interface screen
500 include finding a case, adding a new pleading, and editing an existing pleading.
The LSA enables a user to search for another case while retaining the information
retrieved for an existing case. The user searches for another case by selecting the
'find case' button 546, which causes the process to return to the case retrieval user
interface screen 400.
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[0046] The user adds a new pleading to the existing case by selecting 'new
pleading' 548 via the case information user interface screen 500. Alternatively, the
user may 'right click' on the case folder 504 whereby a pop-up window (not shown)
provides an option 'new pleading' for selection. Selecting either of these options will
result in a pleading information screen such as the one depicted in FIG. 6.
[0047] A user may edit an existing pleading by highlighting the pleading
folder (e.g., one of folders 512) in the folder tree 502. This action causes pleading
information to be displayed on a user interface screen such as the pleading
information screen depicted below in FIG. 6 for the selected pleading.
[0048] An example pleading information user interface screen 600 is depicted
in FIG. 6. The pleading information user interface screen 600 is utilized to view, edit
and add pleading information. It includes a pleading textual information frame 602
for entry and/or modification of pleading textual information. The discovery tracking
number in field 604 is used for linking the new pleading to a production set that was
previously created for the pleading. The discovery tracking number is created via the
LSA at the time a discovery set for the case was created. For example, if a pleading
specifies a request for production, in addition to entering this pleading textual
information into a pleading folder for the case, a user would also create a production
folder in which to associate the pleading via the LSA. When a production folder is
created, the LSA automatically assigns a discovery set tracking number to the
production folder. The user retrieves a document to be associated to the production
folder. The document is then associated (either by making a physical copy or by
providing a link) with the production folder. Once the production folder is created for
the case, the user then reviews available documents (e.g., in a document database
using document table 204) for production.
[0049] Once a production set has been completed, the user can link a pleading
to the production set in the production folder via the discovery tracking number in
field 604. When a new pleading is added, a drop down list of available discovery
tracking numbers is provided in field 604, if applicable. These numbers come from
the discovery sets identified in pleadings frame 506 of FIG. 5. Once this discovery
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set number has been entered, the new pleading is effectively linked to the discovery
information described above. Once the new pleading is linked to the discovery
information, a direct access (e.g., immediately accessible in real time) is provided to
the discovery information. If no productions are applicable, the user may leave this
field 604 blank and check the 'No discovery tracking number' box 606 in frame 602
if desired. Party type field 608, party name field 610, and discovery type field 612
will be automatically populated by the LSA utilizing the production information in
storage device 108 that is linked via the discovery tracking number. The service date
field 614 reflects the date on which the pleading was served. The supplementary
response field 616 specifies a response number that is created when the entity files an
additional, or supplemental, response to the initial pleading. The supplementary
response field 616 is optional.
[0050] The user enters the pleading name in a pleading name field 618. The
user may optionally enter the pleading scope (e.g., in response to Plaintiff's
interrogatories) in a pleading scope field 620 if desired. The user may further provide =
additional information via fields 622 and 624. The title field 622 enables a user to
specify the title used to identify the additional information being included in the
pleading. Options available for selection in the title field 622 include 'other', 'general
objection', 'general definition', 'instructions', 'preamble', among others. The
additional information text is entered in the additional information field 624.
Selecting the 'save' button 626 adds the new pleading to the folder tree 628. The
contents of a newly created, or existing pleading may be viewed and managed through
the pleading information user interface screen 600.
[0051] Another option available via the pleading information user interface
screen 600 depicted in FIG. 6 includes specifying or modifying discovery type data
for a pleading. This option is initiated by selecting the discovery type button 634 on
screen 600. A discovery type name is generated for the pleading by the LSA. The
discovery type name is created by concatenating the party type (e.g., DEF-defendant),
pleading type (e.g., RFP-Request for Production, Request for Admission, Request for
Initial Disclosure, etc.), and pleading set (e.g., set 1 of an Interrogatory). Other
pleading types available for selection in creating a discovery type name include notice
17

of deposition, interrogatory, duces tecum, request for admission, request for initial
disclosure, subpoena, etc. Upon selecting the discovery type button 634, a discovery
type user interface screen such as the one depicted in FIG. 8, described below is
presented to the user.
[0052] The pleading information user interface screen 600 is populated with
the relevant pleading information associated with the selected pleading. With proper
permissions, the user may delete a pleading, add a new question to a pleading, and/or
modify the currently selected pleading. The current pleading may be deleted by
selecting the 'remove pleading' button 633. The user may add a new question to a
selected pleading by clicking on the 'new question' option 632 or by 'right-clicking'
on the desired pleading folder (e.g., one of folders 512). A sub-window (not shown)
is presented with an option to add a new question. The LSA then presents the user
with a blank question/response information user interface screen, a sample of which is
shown in FIG. 7.
[0053] FIG. 7 depicts a question/response information user interface screen
700 that may be used to view, edit, and/or add specific question/response information
to a particular pleading. The user enters question/response information in frames 706
and 708 of the user interface screen 700. The question information frame 706
includes a question type field 710, a question number field 712, a duplicate number
field 714, and a question text field 716. In an exemplary embodiment of the present
invention, the question type field 710 includes a picklist that is populated with up to
three pleading types that make up the pleading's discovery type. The question
number field 712 specifies the question number selected for the pleading, and the
duplicate number field 714 specifies the duplicate question sub-part of the question in
the event that a pleading contains similarly numbered questions (e.g. two
Interrogatories numbered 5). The question text field 716 provides the means to enter
the new question text and also displays existing question text for a question that is
selected for modification. The response information frame 708 includes a response
service date field 718 for specifying the date on which a pleading response was served
on opposing counsel (e.g., for previously created pleadings). Frame 708 also includes
a response text box 720 for providing the text of the response to the pleading selected.
18

The response scope field 722 is used to provide the scope used for the response to a
question. Once the data has been entered, the user can save the entries.
[0054] FIG. 8 is an exemplary discovery type user interface screen for
specifying pleading types and sets for a pleading. In an exemplary embodiment of the
present invention, up to three different pleading types may be selected in fields 802,
as well as up to three corresponding pleading sets in fields 804. These pleading types
and sets correspond to a discovery set, which in turn, contains production folders and
discovery information for a case. The contents of each discovery set are assembled to
address the questions put forth in an individual pleading received for the case. The
user enters the desired discovery type data and then saves the information by selecting
the 'OK and Save' button 806.
[0055] As indicated above, the second module of the pleading management
system is a question and answer search module. Using the question and answer
search module, a user may search for pleading information stored in the data storage
device 108 via a search tool. The LSA provides access to previously entered
pleading, question, response, discovery, and production information. The search
function's flexibility combined with the information available for each question
record provide an efficient means to find the data and documents needed to create
consistent productions in response to pleadings. For example, if a user wants to
review all of the responses provided to address questions concerning a specific
product defect allegation entered into the LSA in the last ninety days, the user may
create a search to return all relevant question and response records. In another
example, if a user desires to research documents that have been produced in response
to questions regarding the design of a product (e.g., fuel tanks), the user may create a
search that would return only those question records that fit this description. For each
question record that is returned in the above examples, the user would be able to
review question and response information and view a list of documents produced in
response to those questions that had been produced through another application of the
LSA. If applicable, these production documents may be reused for other parties
involved in a litigation matter and/or for other cases. The search functionality is not
19

limited to a single case and it may span pleading information associated with
numerous cases stored in the databases on the storage device 108.
[0056] FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of an exemplary screen flow for viewing,
building, and/or modifying a search query and for performing associated searches for
pleading information. At 902, a query interface screen, such as the one depicted in
FIG. 10, is presented to the user to aid in searching for pleading, question and
response records. The user may input a new search, use a pre-created search from the
query log, or modify a pre-created search from the query log. If the user uses a pre-
created search from the query log, a query log screen, such as the one depicted in FIG.
11 is presented to the user at 904. The query log screen allows the user to search the
query log for existing searches and to modify the existing search if desired. After 904
is completed, processing continues at 902.
[0057] After 902 is completed, processing continues at 906. At 906, a sort
screen is presented to the user to allow the user to assign a sort order to the search
criteria. A sample sort screen user interface is depicted in FIG. 12. After the
processing at 906 is completed, processing may continue at 908 or 910, depending on
user selection. At 908, the user may save the query to the query log screen using a
user interface such as the one depicted in FIG. 13. At 910, the query results are
presented to the user. The user can then save the query at 908, go back and create a
new query at 902, or exit the question and answer module at 912.
[0058] FIG. 10 depicts a query user interface screen 1000. Referring to FIG.
10, the user may select one or more fields from a list of fields 1002, to create user
defined search parameters based on fields contained in the tables described in
reference to FIG. 2. User defined search parameters include one or more of
allegation, party name, product information, text, attorney name, jurisdictions, dates,
law firms, and any other basic case information that the users identify as being useful
to them. A navigation button 1004 is used for this selection resulting in the selected
field appearing in a field box 1006. The user then selects an operator 1008 for each
selected field. A search term or phrase is entered in search term box 1010. This
search term or phrase is the subject of the operation specified by the operator 1008.
20

Multiple strings of search criteria may be concatenated by selecting a connector 1012
which links the selected criteria together. Navigation buttons 1014 are provided for
scrolling between criteria strings.
[0059] The query user interface screen 1000 also enables a user to further
refine a search by a pleading service date or response service date. Frame 1015
enables a user to search by pleading service date by selecting one of four time-based
search options (e.g., less than two years, less than ninety days, most recent twenty-
five, or all). Likewise, frame 1016 enables the user to search by response service date
in the same manner provided via frame 1015. Once completed, the user selects the
'next' option 1018, and a query sort user interface screen is presented to the user.
[0060] If the query shown in the query user interface screen 1000 is not
acceptable to the user, then the user may either perform another query search or may
modify the search criteria for the existing query. To search for another query, the user
selects the 'Saved Queries' option 1020 on the query user interface screen 1000 and
the query log user interface screen 1100 depicted in FIG. 11 is presented to the user.
If, on the other hand, the user desires to modify the exiting search query, the user may
do so by selecting new criteria via the search fields 1002 and 1006-1012 provided in
the query user interface screen 1000. Once the modification of the query been
completed, or alternatively (as indicated above), once the search criteria has been
entered for a new query, the user selects the 'Next' option 1018 and a query sort user
interface screen such as the one depicted in FIG. 12 is presented to the user.
[0061] A sample query log user interface screen 1100 is shown in FIG. 11.
Upon opening the query log user interface screen 1100, a user is presented with a user
tree 1102. The user tree 1102 lists the names of all users that have previously saved
queries in the LSA. The user's name appears highlighted at the top of screen 1100,
along with the user's saved queries 1104. Other user names may be listed in
alphabetical order within user tree 1102. The user may navigate through the user tree
and may view and/or open all public queries saved beneath each user name. The user
will only be able to view and open private queries in which he/she is the owner. If the
21

user opens a query owned by another user, it may be modified and saved to the
current user's folder through a 'save as' function.
[0062] The user selects from the list of saved queries 1104 identified in the
user tree 1102 of the query log user interface screen 1100, which is displayed in frame
1106. Frame 1106 includes the query name in box 1108 and a description of the
query's function or purpose in box 1110. A private query indicator box 1112 is
checked if the user has opted to identify the query as private (e.g., inaccessible to
other users). If box 1112 is not checked, the query is considered public and will be
accessible to other users. Other information provided in frame 1114 includes the date
the query was created and updated, as well as the name of the query's owner. If
satisfied with the selected query, the user clicks on the 'Open' button and returns to
the query user interface screen 1000 of FIG. 10. This time, a query user interface
screen, such as the one depicted in FIG. 10, is populated with search criteria
previously established for the query.
[0063] A sample query sort user interface screen 1200 is shown in FIG. 12.
Screen 1200 allows a user to assign a sort order to the search criteria. The user selects
the sort criteria in a query sort user interface screen 1200 by selecting from available
sort fields in frame 1202, which is facilitated by the use of navigation buttons 1206.
The selected fields are then displayed in a selected fields frame 1204 as shown in FIG.
12. These selected fields may be further sorted in ascending or descending order by
selecting one of boxes 1209 and 1210, respectively. Once the sort criteria have been
entered, two options are available for the user. The user may either run the search
without saving the query or may save the query without running (or alternatively,
before running) the query. To run the query, the user selects the 'Run Query' option
1212 on user interface screen 1200, and the LSA searches pleading textual
information in the storage device 108. As described above, various discovery
information may be linked to the pleading textual information via the discovery
tracking number described above. Running this query will result in retrieval of the
productions in addition to the pleading information results. These results are
presented to the user via a query results user interface screen, a sample of which is
shown in FIG. 14.
22

[0064] A sample 'save to query log' user interface screen is shown in FIG.
13. The functionality of the save to query log user interface screen 1300 is similar to
that described in reference to the query log user interface screen 1100 depicted in
FIG. 11 with some minor exceptions. The save to query log user interface screen
1300 allows a user to run a query if desired by selecting the 'run query' option 1310
on user interface screen 1300, save the query by selecting the 'save' option 1312, or
save the query with a new name in the user's folder by selecting the 'save as' option
1314 (e.g., if the user is not the owner of the query). The user may execute the query
by selecting the 'run query' option 1310, whereby the LSA searches pleading textual
information in the storage device 108 for matching data. The results of the search are
then presented to the user via query results user interface screen 1400 such as the one
depicted in FIG. 14.
[0065] Referring to FIG. 14, the query results user interface screen 1400
displays the results of the query which is based upon the user-defined search criteria
described above. The results are displayed in three frames, a query result frame 1402,
a document information frame 1404, and a pleading documents frame 1406. The
query results frame 1402 contains the questions and responses, along with other
pleading and case information that match the search criteria entered. In an exemplary
embodiment of the present invention, only produced documents are displayed. The
query results frame 1402 also contains pleading textual information including such as
the case name, discovery type, pleading scope, question text, response text, and
response scope information. The document information frame 1404 contains a list of
discovery documents that have been produced as part of the response to the question
selected in the query results frame 1402. The pleading documents frame 1406
displays a list of pleading documents generated in response to the selected question.
From this frame 1406, a user may access the images of pleading documents received
by highlighting and double-clicking a document from frame 1406. As indicated
above, this information (e.g., production documents) may be used in other litigation
matters if desired. For example, if a search query results in questions and/or
responses that are similar to those related to a current litigation matter, a user may
access the questions, responses, and/or documents produced in response to these
23

questions and/or responses identified in the search results and apply these questions,
responses, and/or production documents to the current litigation matter. The scope of
similarities between the pleadings, questions, and/or responses being searched to a
current pleading, question, and/or response may involve similarities in a product
involved in the litigation matter (a product model, version, usage, etc), a common
defect or suspected defect relating to one or more products involved in a litigation
matter, a series of standard tests performed on a specific product, among others.
[0066] The user may either save the query results in screen 1400, perform
another search, or exit the search feature. If another search is desired, the user selects
the 'query screen1 option 1420 of user interface screen 1400 and the user is presented
with the query user interface screen 1000 depicted in FIG. 10. If the user does not
wish to search again, the user selects the 'File' option 1424 on user interface screen
1400, followed by 'Exit' (not shown) to exit the search feature. If the user desires to
save the query, the 'Save Query' option 1422 is selected and a user interface screen,
such as the one depicted in FIG. 13, is presented to the user. Alternatively, if the user
desires to save the query without executing it, the user selects 'Save Query' 1214 on
screen 1200, and a user interface, such as the one depicted in FIG. 13, is presented to
the user.
[0067] As indicated above, if the user is modifying a search query that is
owned by another user, the user must save the modified search query under a different
name. If the user is the original creator of the search query being edited, the user may
either save the modified query, writing over the existing query, or may alternatively
save the modified query under a new name.
[0068] Additionally, existing search queries may be viewed, searched, and
modified and, upon execution of a search, result in the display of one or more cases
containing information requested in the search query. A user may also build and run
new search queries. Because pleadings may be linked to corresponding discovery
information produced in response to the pleadings, execution of a search query will
result in the identification of these corresponding discovery information in addition to
question and response text. Among other advantages, this functionality enables a user
24

to identify how specific pleadings were responded to in the past and, if appropriate,
these pleading elements may be copied for reuse in other pleadings.
[0069] Exemplary embodiments of the present invention store both historical
pleading textual information and produced document information. Additionally, a
link is provided at the pleading and question level to historical documents produced in
response to the historical pleadings. Further, the historical produced documents may
be reused through the ability to copy the documents to a new production folder so as
to form a consistent basis for a new production responsive to a similar request. The
ability to manage pleadings and document information across cases or matters and the
link between pleadings and the documents produced allows for documents that were
produced for an earlier case or question to be reused for other productions.
[0070] As described above, the embodiments of the invention may be
embodied in the form of computer-implemented processes and apparatuses for
practicing those processes. Embodiments of the invention may also be embodied in
the form of computer program code containing instructions embodied in tangible
media, such as floppy diskettes, CD-ROMs, hard drives, or any other
computer-readable storage medium, wherein, when the computer program code is
loaded into and executed by a computer, the computer becomes an apparatus for
practicing the invention. The present invention can also be embodied in the form of
computer program code, for example, whether stored in a storage medium, loaded
into and/or executed by a computer, or transmitted over some transmission medium,
such as over electrical wiring or cabling, through fiber optics, or via electromagnetic
radiation, wherein, when the computer program code is loaded into and executed by a
computer, the computer becomes an apparatus for practicing the invention. When
implemented on a general-purpose microprocessor, the computer program code
segments configure the microprocessor to create specific logic circuits.
[0071] While the invention has been described with reference to exemplary
embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes
may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without
departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be
25

made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention
without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the
invention not be limited to the particular embodiments disclosed for carrying out this
invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope
of the appended claims. Moreover, the use of the terms first, second, etc. do not
denote any order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to
distinguish one element from another.
26

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:
1. A system for electronically managing discovery pleading information,
comprising: a repository of prior discovery requests and corresponding responses ;
made to those prior requests including the documentary and other information
previously produced in response to the prior discovery request, and a search tool
enabling a user having an instant discovery request to search the repository to access
related prior discovery requests and corresponding responses to aid in formulating a
response to the instant discovery request, thereby to promote efficiency and
consistency in responding to discovery requests.
2. A system for electronically managing discovery pleading information,
comprising: a repository of prior discovery requests and corresponding responses
made to those prior requests, the corresponding responses including the documentary
and other information previously produced in response to the prior discovery request
as well as the textual response itself to the prior discovery request, and a search tool
enabling a user having an instant discovery request to search the repository to access
prior discovery requests and corresponding responses of interest to aid in formulating
an appropriate response to the instant discovery request, thereby to promote efficiency
and consistency in responding to discovery requests.
3. A system for electronically managing discovery pleading information,
comprising: a repository of prior discovery requests and corresponding responses
made to those prior requests, and a search tool enabling a user with an instant
discovery request to search the repository to access prior discovery requests and
corresponding responses of interest, the corresponding responses including a link to
copy the documentary and other information previously produced in response to the
prior discovery response for production in response to the instant discovery request,
thereby to promote efficiency and consistency in responding to the instant discovery
request.
27

4. A system for electronically managing discovery pleading information,
comprising: a repository of prior discovery requests and corresponding responses
made to those prior requests, and a search tool enabling a user with an instant
discovery request to search the repository to access prior discovery requests and
corresponding responses of interest, the corresponding responses including a link to
copy the documentary and other information previously produced in response to the
prior discovery response as well as the text of the prior response itself for inclusion in
the response to the instant discovery request, thereby to promote efficiency and
consistency in responding to the instant discovery request.
5. A system for electronically managing discovery pleading information,
comprising: a repository of prior discovery requests and corresponding responses
including the documentary and other information produced in response to the prior
discovery request, and a search tool for enabling a user with an instant discovery
request to search the repository to access related prior discovery requests and
corresponding responses, the search tool including prior search inquiries that may be
wholly or partially reused in searching the repository, thereby to promote efficiency
and consistency in responding to discovery requests.

28

6. An automated method for managing pleadings, the method comprising :
selecting a working pleading;
identifying at least one historical pleading being substantially similar to the
working pleading; and
providing a link from the working pleading to discovery information
associated with the historical pleading.
7. The method of claim 6 wherein the working pleading may also be a
historical pleading.
8. The method of claim 6 wherein the link only links to discovery information
that has been produced.
9. The method of claim 6 wherein the link only links to non-privileged
discovery information.

10. The method of claim 6 wherein the link restricts access to privileged
discovery information except for a placeholder.
11. The method of claim 6 further comprising copying historical pleading
information to a production set, wherein the historical pleading includes the historical
pleading information.
29

12. The method of claim 6 wherein the discovery information from the
historical pleading can be associated with the working pleading.
13. The method of claim 6 wherein the discovery information of the historical
pleading can be associated with a production set.
14. The method of claim 13 wherein the production set may be one of an
existing production set and a new production set.
15. The method of claim 6 wherein the link may be to multiple historical
pleadings.
16. The method of claim 6 wherein the working pleading and the historical
pleading are associated with the same case.
17. The method of claim 6 wherein the working pleading and the historical
pleading are associated with different cases.
18. The method of claim 6 wherein the link is provided by assigning a
tracking number associated with the historical pleading to the working pleading.
19. The method of claim 6 wherein a user selects a working pleading.
30

20. The method of claim 6 wherein a computer search automatically identifies
the at least one historical pleading.
21. The method of claim 6 wherein at least one of the working pleading and
the historical pleading may be associated with multiple pleading types.
22. A method for managing pleadings, the method comprising:
searching historical pleadings via user-defined search parameters;
as a result of the searching, identifying one or more historical pleadings that
are responsive to the search parameters; and
directly accessing discovery information associated with the historical
pleadings via an automatic link.
23. The method of claim 22 wherein as a result of the searching, textual
information associated with the historical pleading is provided.
24. The method of claim 22 further comprising displaying a listing of records
associated with the historical pleadings.
25. The method of claim 24 wherein the records can be directly manipulated
from a results screen.
31

26. The method of claim 25 wherein the manipulation includes one or more of
reviewing, marking as privileged, and associating in whole or in part with an existing
or new production set.
27. The method of claim 22 wherein the automatic link is provided via a
tracking number associated with the discovery information and linked to the historical
pleading.
28. The method of claim 22 wherein the historical pleading is used in all or in
part to answer an other pleading.
29. The method of claim 28 wherein a decision from an earlier production
associated with the historical pleading is retained when answering the other pleading.
30. The method of claim 28 wherein a decision from an earlier production
associated with the historical pleading is modified when answering the other pleading.
31. The method of claim 28 wherein legends and numbering from an earlier
production associated with the historical pleading are retained when answering the
other pleading.
32. The method of claim 28 wherein legends and numbering from an earlier
production associated with the historical pleading are modified when answering the
other pleading.
32

33. The method of claim 22 wherein the historical pleading is used in all or in
part as input to a new or an existing standing collection.
34. The method of claim 22 wherein the historical pleading is copied into a
folder to make a standing collection or to answer a specific request.
35. The method of claim 22 wherein the user defined search parameters
include one or more of allegation, party name, product information, text, attorney
name, jurisdictions, dates, law firms.
36. The method of claim 22 wherein the searching historical pleadings
includes performing at least one of:
selecting a search query from a list of search queries for execution;
selecting and modifying a search query from the list of search queries; and
building a new search query.
37. The method of claim 22 wherein the searching includes searching
multiple cases simultaneously.
38. The method of claim 22 further comprising saving the user defined search
parameters for performing subsequent searches.
33

39. An automated method for managing pleadings, the method comprising:
creating a working pleading, the creating including:
selecting the working pleading;
identifying at least one historical pleading being substantially similar
to the working pleading; and
providing a first link from the working pleading to discovery
information associated with the identified historical pleading; and
searching for discovery information, the searching including:
searching a historical pleadings database via user-defined
search parameters;
as a result of the searching a historical pleading database,
locating one or more historical pleadings that are responsive to the search parameters;
and
directly accessing discovery information associated with the
located historical pleadings via an automated second link.
34

40. A system for managing pleadings, the system comprising:
a database storing historical pleadings; and
a host system in communication with the database, the host system containing
computer instructions to implement a method, the method including:
selecting a working pleading;
identifying at least one historical pleading being substantially similar
to the working pleading; and
providing a link from the working pleading to discovery information
associated with the historical pleading.
41. The system of claim 40 wherein the working pleading may also be a
historical pleading.
42. The system of claim 40 wherein the link only links to discovery
information that has been produced.
43. The system of claim 40 wherein the link only links to non-privileged
discovery information.
44. The system of claim 40 wherein the link restricts access to privileged
discovery information except for a placeholder.
35

45. The system of claim 40 further comprising copying historical pleading
information to a production set, wherein the historical pleading includes the historical
pleading information.
46. The system of claim 40 wherein the discovery information from the
historical pleading can be associated with the working pleading.
47. The system of claim 40 wherein the discovery information of the
historical pleading can be associated with a production set.
48. The system of claim 47 wherein the production set may be one of an
existing production set and a new production set.
49. The system of claim 40 wherein the link may be to multiple historical
pleadings.
50. The system of claim 40 wherein the working pleading and the historical
pleading are associated with the same case.
51. The system of claim 40 wherein the working pleading and the historical
pleading are associated with different cases.
52. The system of claim 40 wherein the link is provided by assigning a
tracking number associated with the historical pleading to the working pleading.
36

53. The system of claim 40 wherein a user selects a working pleading.
54. The system of claim 40 wherein a computer search automatically
identifies the at least one historical pleading.
55. The system of claim 40 wherein at least one of the working pleading and
the historical pleading may be associated with multiple pleading types.
56. A system for managing pleadings, the system comprising:
a database storing historical pleadings; and
a host system in communication with the database, the host system containing
computer instructions to implement a method, the method including:
searching the database of historical pleadings via user-defined search
parameters;
as a result of the searching, identifying one or more historical
pleadings that are responsive to the search parameters; and
directly accessing discovery information associated with the historical
pleadings via an automatic link.
57. The system of claim 56 wherein as a result of the searching, textual
information associated with the historical pleading is provided.
37

58. The system of claim 56 further comprising displaying a listing of records
associated with the historical pleadings.
59. The system of claim 58 wherein the records can be directly manipulated
from a results screen.
60. The system of claim 59 wherein the manipulation includes one or more of
reviewing, marking as privileged, and associating in whole or in part with an existing
or new production set.
61. The system of claim 56 wherein the automatic link is provided via a
tracking number associated with the discovery information and linked to the historical
pleading.
62. The system of claim 56 wherein the historical pleading is used in all or in
part to answer an other pleading.
63. The system of claim 62 wherein a decision from an earlier production
associated with the historical pleading is retained when answering the other pleading.
64. The system of claim 62 wherein a decision from an earlier production
associated with the historical pleading is modified when answering the other pleading.
38

65. The system of claim 62 wherein legends and numbering from an earlier
production associated with the historical pleading are retained when answering the
other pleading.
66. The system of claim 62 wherein legends and numbering from an earlier
production associated with the historical pleading are modified when answering the
other pleading.
67. The system of claim 56 wherein the historical pleading is used in all or in
part as input to a new or an existing standing collection.
68. The system of claim 56 wherein the historical pleading is copied into a
folder to make a standing collection or to answer a specific request.
69. The system of claim 56 wherein the user defined search parameters
include one or more of allegation, party name, product information, text, attorney
name, jurisdictions, dates, law firms.
39

70. The system of claim 56 wherein the searching historical pleadings
includes performing at least one of:
selecting a search query from a list of search queries for execution;
selecting and modifying a search query from the list of search queries; and
building a new search query.
71. The system of claim 56 wherein the searching includes searching multiple
cases simultaneously.
72. The system of claim 56 further comprising saving the user defined search
parameters for performing subsequent searches.
73. An automated system for managing pleadings, the system comprising:
a database storing historical pleadings; and
a host system in communication with the database, the host system containing
computer instructions to implement a method, the method including:
creating a working pleading, the creating including:
selecting the working pleading;
identifying at least one historical pleading being substantially
similar to the working pleading; and
providing a first link from the working pleading to discovery
information associated with the identified historical pleading; and
40

searching for discovery information, the searching including:
searching a historical pleadings database via user-defined
search parameters;
as a result of the searching a historical pleadings database,
locating one or more historical pleadings in the database that are responsive to the
search parameters; and
directly accessing discovery information associated with the
located historical pleadings via an automated second link.
74. A computer program product for managing pleading information, the
computer program product comprising:
a storage medium readable by a processing circuit and storing instructions for
execution by the processing circuit for performing a method comprising:
selecting a working pleading;
identifying at least one historical pleading being substantially similar
to the working pleading; and
providing a link from the working pleading to discovery information
associated with the historical pleading.
41

75. A computer program product for managing pleading information, the
computer program product comprising:
a storage medium readable by a processing circuit and storing instructions for
execution by the processing circuit for performing a method comprising:
searching historical pleadings via user-defined search parameters;
as a result of the searching, identifying one or more historical
pleadings that are responsive to the search parameters; and
42
directly accessing discovery information associated with the historical
pleadings via an automatic link.

A system and method for electronically managing discovery pleading
information in which a user having an instant discovery request can search a
repository to access prior discovery requests and corresponding responses to aid in
formulating a response to the instant discovery request. The corresponding prior
discovery responses include the documentary and other information previously
produced in response to the prior discovery request, and may also include the text of
the response itself. In this way the inventive system and method promotes efficiency
and consistency in responding to discovery requests.

Documents:

02670-kolnp-2005-abstract.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-claims.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-description complete.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-drawings.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-form 1.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-form 2.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-form 3.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-form 5.pdf

02670-kolnp-2005-international publication.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-abstract.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-assignment.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-claims.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-correspondence.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-description (complete).pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-drawings.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-examination report.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 1.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 13.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 18.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 2.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 26.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 3.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-form 5.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-gpa.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-reply to examination report.pdf

2670-kol np-2005-granted-specification.pdf

2670-KOLNP-2005-FORM-27.pdf

abstract-02670-kolnp-2005.jpg


Patent Number 235984
Indian Patent Application Number 2670/KOLNP/2005
PG Journal Number 37/2009
Publication Date 11-Sep-2009
Grant Date 10-Sep-2009
Date of Filing 22-Dec-2005
Name of Patentee XEROX CORPORATION
Applicant Address 800 LONG RIDGE ROAD, STAMFORD, CT
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 GRUSKIN, MICHAEL 4070 WINTERSET LAN WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI 48323
2 CLARAMITARO, BARBARA, L. 1737 BROADSTON, GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI 48236
3 WOLFE, EDWARD, C 711 BROCKMOOR LANE, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI 48304
4 GRUSKIN, MICHAEL 4070 WINTERSET LAN WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI 48323
5 CLARAMITARO, BARBARA, L. 1737 BROADSTON, GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI 48236
6 WOLFE, EDWARD, C 711 BROCKMOOR LANE, BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI 48304
PCT International Classification Number G06F 17/30
PCT International Application Number PCT/US2004/021484
PCT International Filing date 2004-07-02
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 60/484, 731 2003-07-03 U.S.A.
2 60/485, 540 2003-07-08 U.S.A.