Deepwater Horizon Explosion
Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, semi-submersible offshore oil rig owned by
Transocean and leased to BP.
When the Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana, 11 people were killed and the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry occurred. Experts estimate that close to 5 million barrels of oil gushed from the seabed and into the Gulf, making it the worst oil spill in history.
This catastrophic event resulted in the filing of lawsuits by over 116,000 businesses and individuals whose livelihoods were adversely impacted. Families and individuals in the Gulf region of the United States filed lawsuits over the health hazards posed by the chemicals used to disperse and clean up the oil spill.
The five states on the Gulf (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas) also sued BP over the damage to their environment and economies.
As the requesting party, the BP oil spill PSC did not have huge preservation obligations. Its challenges stemmed from the coordination and streamlining of eDiscovery activities involving the multiple geographically dispersed case teams litigating multiple issues under the MDL. The PSC’s primary responsibilities included overseeing the collection of documents from the producing parties and streamlining the analysis and reviewing just under 1 billion relevant pages among the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Solution: BP Oil Spill PSC Employs iCONECT nXT
Several members of the PSC are veterans of multi-jurisdiction litigation and aware of the various e-discovery pitfalls. At the onset, the PSC developed a plan to oversee document collection from the producing parties and to streamline analysis and review in a cost-effective manner. This plan included:
- A framework and business rules for coordinating activities among the plaintiffs’ case team
- A committee to develop the selection criteria and assign ediscovery project
managers and litigation support service providers
- A committee to define the IT strategy, technology requirements, and technical protocols for collection, review, and production
PSC selected the iCONECT nXT platform as the e-discovery review system and selected Avansic as the e-discovery and litigation support consultant. Avansic worked closely with the PSC in defining the litigation support and business processes as well as enhancing and maintaining the iCONECT nXT systems.
The business objectives of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee and its technical and process challenges influenced the critical attributes they demanded from their litigation support platform. Because of multiple constraints — technology, organization, geographic location, and budget —- the PSC required a fully Web-based ediscovery platform.
The selection of iCONECT nXT was based on its ability to meet the cost constraints and the following defined critical technical attributes:
- Scale, processing, and computing capacity and high service availability
- Support for multiple data formats
- Robust and flexible infrastructure to support the geographic and organizational
fragmentation of the case teams
- Support for complex business process workflows involving multiple
geographically distributed reviewers and attorneys
- Browser-based review interface that does not require the installation of software
or connecting to remote computers/thin clients
- Flexible and customizable workflows
- Easy-to-use interface to minimize the learning curve among review teams and
- Granular security model to segregate and protect attorney work products
The PSC selected and deployed iCONECT nXT to manage the analysis, review, and production activities. Avansic was selected to help define the litigation support and business processes and to enhance and maintain the iCONECT nXT systems. The platform was used to host documents to over 300 reviewers, attorneys, and experts who were involved in the matter. These teams were able to quickly and securely
access the documents. Case teams were able to customize their review and production processes, where applicable. The iCONECT nXT platform enabled the users to share relevant documents and work products across case teams and law firms in a timely fashion while still protecting the defined privilege and confidentiality protocols.
By sharing resources across case teams, the PSC was also able to lower the costs of the e-discovery technology infrastructure and eliminate duplicative review.