US Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck yesterday denied the Da Silva Moore plaintiffs’ recusal motion in robust terms. The S.D.N.Y. Blog pulls out the best bits from the ruling and provides a link to it.
The opinion is measured, analytical and, to my eyes, unanswerable. Most commentators (that is, all bar one, apparently) viewed the plaintiffs’ tactics with a mixture of bewilderment and contempt. Judge Peck keeps his cool, facing down each allegation in turn, and leaving any objective reader with a clear picture of plaintiffs (or, rather, their lawyers – one wonders what the plaintiffs themselves think of all this) who, disliking the outcome of the course they had agreed to, thought they would have a go at displacing the judge in the hope of finding themselves a more amenable one.
This expensive and extravagant side-show has nothing to do with the merits of predictive coding, nothing to do with the issues in dispute and nothing to do with the “just, speedy and inexpensive” requirements of Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Peck’s important messages about proportionality, about cooperation, and about the duty of parties and the court to find the best way of managing cases, have all been drowned. As I have asked before, can anyone remember what this case is actually about?
It is not just the issues which have been buried. The arguments and counter-arguments about predictive coding itself have become lost in the mud with which the plaintiffs have tried to smear the judge and everyone else involved. A helpful refresher about the principles of predictive coding can be found in a panel discussion on Metropolitan Corporate Counsel called Judge Peck, Da Silva Moore and the Outlook for Predictive Coding. The participants are Conor Crowley of the Crowley Law Office, Steven Goldstein of Squire Sanders and Sean Foley of ProSearch Strategies. Product neutrality is ensured by the fact that the software under discussion is Equivio Relevance rather than Recommind’s Axcelerate which is actually being used in Da Silva Moore.
It is one of the most helpful summaries which I have seen of the reasons why Judge Peck endorsed the parties’ agreement to use predictive coding.