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A relatively run-of-the-mill employment class-action lawsuit recently set the legal technology world aflame. The case, Monique Da Silva Moore, et al. v. Publicis Groupe & MSL Group, centers on five women who accused advertising conglomerate Publicis Groupe of gender discrimination. But little of this is relevant to the fire. Instead, a discovery dispute between the parties ignited the blaze, providing the perfect storm for what is considered the first judicial opinion to endorse predictive coding as a defensible way to review documents.

Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York opined in his Feb. 24 decision that defendants could use predictive coding, a software tool that uses algorithms to automatically tag documents, to review as many as three million electronic documents as part of the parties’ e-discovery protocol. Because the plaintiffs and defendants both agreed to use predictive coding to cull from the massive number of documents, the case serendipitously allowed Judge Peck, who is a well-known e-discovery technology advocate, a chance to plant his flag and advance the field.

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