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Using Computers and Video Technology in Litigation and Trials

Russell Carparelli, Natural Resources & Environmental Litigation II (1996)

Environmental and natural resources disputes often present challenges beyond those found in a typical commercial or regulatory dispute. They often involve multiple parties with diverse interests. The parties are not only commercial entities but government entities, private parties, citizen groups and public interest groups. Although the parties all have a stake in the disputed matter, their decision-makers may be geographically dispersed. The case management challenges can be extraordinary. It is not uncommon for the disputes to require historical investigation into events and transactions occurring decades ago as well as extensive geophysical and hydrologic investigation and analysis. Before producing documents each party may need to search multiple on-site storage areas and off-site archives. As a result, each party may produce hundreds of thousands of pages of documents. When multiple parties produce such huge volumes of documents to one another, each party finds itself faced with the challenge of storing, organizing and accessing more than a million pages of documents. At trial each party presents extensive technical information, scientific analysis and expert conclusions. To add to the complexity, environmental and natural resources disputes can spawn multiple administrative and judicial litigations including government enforcement actions, statutory cost recovery claims,