I posted earlier on Valassis' $1.5 billion dollar lawsuit against News America Marketing, which had been scheduled for trial this month. As expected, however, trial has been postponed -- likely until early 2009.
A status conference was held on January 23, 2008 before Judge John Feikens. In a status report filed by News America the day before the status conference, News America indicated that it had produced 374,404 documents, while Valassis had produced 107,479. While this is a lot of documents, such voluminous discovery is increasingly common in high-stakes antitrust litigation, and attorneys should have systems in place to effectively cope with such a volume of discovery, including suitable document review software and tools, as well as sufficient staff for document review (which, for large projects, often consists of contract attorneys), and a strong organizational scheme (including protocols for communication and decision-making). Discovery continues in the case on a rolling basis.
News America requested that the scheduling order be revised as follows:
- April 30, 2008 – Completion of document production.
- July 31, 2008 – Close of non-expert discovery. Each side limited to 30 depositions.
- October 22, 2008 – Close of expert discovery.
- December 1, 2008 – Dispositive motions due.
- January 22, 2009 – Joint Pretrial Statement due.
Mediation had been held on November 20, 2007 without resolution before Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who is best known for presiding over United States v. Microsoft. The parties discussed the possibility of further mediation, and "agreed that an additional session would not be productive."
At the status hearing on January 23, 2008, Judge Feikens ordered the parties to return to mediation, despite the parties' position on the futility of additional mediation.
I'll continue to follow this case with interest as there are further developments.