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Technology Assisted Review Transparency Required in New DOJ Model Second Request

On December 12, 2016 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division implemented an updated Model Second Request (Model), containing new guidance on the use of Technology Assisted Review (TAR) in responding to DOJ requests. The new guidance requires a party using TAR to provide the DOJ access to nonresponsive documents identified by the TAR algorithm. While courts have split over whether a party may be required to disclose nonresponsive documents used in TAR[1], it is likely that this new guidance from the DOJ will significantly impact TAR-use negotiations in both civil litigation and regulatory forums.

The Model's instructions state that a party must submit a description of the search methods used. For any process that relies on TAR, a party must provide:

  • "confirmation that subject-matter experts will be reviewing the seed set and training rounds;

  • recall, precision, and confidence-level statistics (or an equivalent); and

  • a validation process that allows for Department review of statistically-significant samples of documents categorized as non-responsive documents by the algorithm."

Adding further complication, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a revised Model Second Request in August 2015, which seeks the disclosure of TAR processes and analyses, but stops short of requiring nonresponsive documents. In contrast, the DOJ's revised Model requires access to nonresponsive documents, and tips the scales in favor of greater transparency in the use of TAR.

In-house counsel should anticipate that both civil litigants and regulators will cite this Model in their requests to access both nonresponsive documents used to train TAR algorithms and documents categorized as nonresponsive documents by a TAR algorithm. The disclosure of such information carries risks, such as the release of confidential proprietary information, and may open up the door for inquiries by other regulatory agencies or plaintiff's counsel in other actions. Ultimately, each party must weigh these risks against the immense e-discovery cost savings that TAR offers. But, as Hon. Andrew J. Peck recently noted, "[t]here may come a time when TAR is so widely used that it might be unreasonable for a party to decline to use TAR. We are not there yet."[2]

[1] See Rio Tinto PLC v. Vale S.A., 306 F.R.D. 125, 129 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) (collecting cases, but declining to rule, on the need for the disclosure of non-responsive documents used to train TAR algorithms).

[2] Hyles v. N.Y. City, No. 10CIV3119ATAJP, 2016 WL 4077114, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 1, 2016).

©2020 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 37



About this Author

Karl Heisler, Katten Law Firm, Energy and Litigation Attorney

Karl Heisler's practice focuses on environmental and white collar law, with an emphasis on civil and criminal environmental enforcement and worker endangerment. He leads teams of attorneys and subject matter experts in responding to investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the US Chemical Safety Board, and the National Transportation Safety Board, in addition to other federal, state and local authorities. Karl routinely conducts internal investigations involving...

Gil Rudolph, White Collar Defense Attorney, litigator Katten Muchin Chicago firm
Managing Partner

Gil M. Soffer is managing partner of Katten's Chicago office and national co-head of the White Collar Defense, Internal Investigations and Compliance practice. He also serves as hiring partner in the Chicago office. A former federal prosecutor, Gil provides experienced counsel to individuals and companies under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other government regulators.

Gil's practice runs the gamut of white collar criminal and civil fraud matters,...