REAL WORLD USE OF THE IPAD IN HIGH STAKES LITIGATION

I have not posted in several weeks because I have been fully occupied by a litigation “death march” i.e., a high stakes Lanham Act preliminary injunction battle.  The case involved competing claims of product superiority in point of sale, print, web and television commercials.  With its media heavy emphasis, this case provided an excellent opportunity to experiment with the practical and creative use of the iPad in a high pressure litigation setting.

As the case heated up, it became readily apparent that I would be forced to embark on a three week, multistate deposition defense and prosecution tour leading up to the dénouement of the actual injunction hearing.  In the old days, I would have schlepped around three or four banker’s boxes of documents for a combination witness preparation/deposition exhibit master file.  This time, I reduced my load to one box by utilizing the iPad, laptop and a web-enabled printer.

First, I created key witness preparation files on the iPad using the Good Reader Application. Good has made many recent enhancements to this application, such as the ability to create subfolders.   The mechanics were simple, I transferred the documents from my PC to the iPad using the Drop Box application.  I then opened the documents in Good Reader.  Once the documents are opened in Good Reader, they can be moved into titled subfiles by the manage files function.  This allows the preparation of individual witness files and subfiles.  During preparation sessions, I would simply hand the witness an iPad with the document for discussion or alternatively would displayed the document on a flat screen TV with the VGA output adapter (the Good Reader Application now has a video-display feature).

 Good has also enhanced the annotation features.  This allows you to mark up PDF files with handwriting, highlighting, arrows, lines, etc.  You can also share these marked up documents with others.   We were taking real time depositions.  I used the annotation features to mark-up and highlight rough transcript testimony and forward it to my colleagues as I traveled from one deposition to another.

Since this was an advertising case, the iPad also came in handy for commercial “show and tell” for witness preparation.  Most of the time I was able to key up the clips in Good Reader, but occasionally I was forced to access them from Drop Box.

In addition, I used the iPad as a “fluid exhibit” to examine deposition witnesses on five occasions:  twice to show offending commercials to adverse experts prior to asking a series of related questions; once to introduce a line of questioning about an offending website; and my favorite, once to look up a dictionary definition on the fly to counter a definition used by a witness in his testimony.  The ability to instantly access information and present it to the witness in a convenient form opens the door to many deposition examination possibilities.

While on this roadshow, I purchased a relatively small web enabled HP Printer with iPad compatibility.  The HP PhotoSmart Premium C-310 (appx. $150.00 at Best Buy) allows printing from any iPad sharing a common WIFI connection.  In addition, HP has set up a free email system in which you can email the document to your printer’s email address and it will print the email and any attached documents.   The setup was easy, print quality was good, and the printer worked flawlessly.  This allowed me to print up only those exhibits I needed for each deposition, which practical terms reduced what I had to transport and saved paper.

Finally, on the day of the injunction hearing, my witness direct outline, cross-examination outline and argument were stored on my iPad, which I had determined would be my sole reference.  Alas, the case settled minutes before the start of the hearing, leaving this aspect of the iPad untested.

The iPad has earned a place in my litigation technology tool kit.   If you have used the iPad in your litigation practice, we would love to hear from you and learn any tips you might have to share.

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