In an ongoing series of antitrust and merger clearance investigations in the U.S. and Europe, a global life sciences company was facing significant challenges in meeting the authorities’ data production requests. Large volumes of data from numerous emerging data sources, including Box, Microsoft 365, Confluence, Workplace from Facebook, Mattermost and Foundation IP, had been collected to respond to a Second Request investigation in the U.S. As the investigations progressed, the data requests became increasingly complicated and difficult to fulfill. FTI Technology’s emerging data sources experts worked closely with the client to overcome obstacles and coordinate requirements with numerous regulatory agencies.
FTI Technology supported the client throughout the Second Request, which involved significant challenges in the data collection and review phases. A key challenge was the Federal Trade Commission’s requirement for the client to produce linked content — meaning any relevant documents that had been shared in communications via a dynamic link rather than a traditional attachment — from Box. Because linked content is saved, shared, stored and utilized in a completely different manner than documents that are sent as attachments to a message, there are significant technical challenges involved with matching linked items to their “parent” message from email or chat platforms. Even after linked items are accurately identified and classified, retrieving them and loading them into a review platform with association to their parent messages can be a nuanced and error-prone process.
The FTC request also indicated that specific versions of the linked content was required. However, given the fluid nature of dynamic documents from cloud-based productivity suites and file shares, it was extremely difficult to identify which version of each linked item was applicable to the request, and in many instances, impossible to retrieve the specified version.
Ultimately, FTI Technology needed to coordinate with the FTC and European agencies to negotiate the requirements of the request, as well as develop solutions and workflows to enable defensible and thorough discovery of linked content.
FTI Technology’s emerging data team worked with counsel to frame the request based on what was technically possible alongside evidentiary considerations. The team discussed the issues with the regulatory agencies on the client’s behalf to explain the limitations and why production expectations based on traditional data sources could not apply to Box and other emerging data sources in scope in the investigation. This led to negotiations around new linked content and version production specifications.
Once the new specifications were approved by the authorities, FTI Technology’s team provided the following solutions:
- Developed novel functions for a proprietary Box collection tool that incorporated linked content identification, validation and download of specific versions.
- Collected 60 TB of Box data and associated metadata, which was processed and reviewed in one month to ensure compliance with regulatory deadlines.
- Designed and automated a retrieval program to support efficient and defensible collection and processing of linked Box content.
- Incorporated multiple messaging formats into a universal short form messaging review strategy to increase efficiency and accuracy when reviewing information from collaboration and chat applications.
Despite significant obstacles relating to linked content requirements and technical issues with collecting from numerous emerging data sources, FTI Technology ensured the client achieved compliance with regulatory requests on time.
Established collaborative and productive engagement with FTC and European regulatory agencies to provide advisory around the nuances of emerging data sources and the technical limitations of retrieving linked content.
Automated solutions and bespoke workflows reduced the overall e-discovery burden and associated costs.