Nov., 19, 2012, Atlanta, GA –The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia today ordered that Plaintiffs should retain an e-discovery expert to investigate Defendant Delta Air Lines’ discovery practices. As ordered by the Court, the expert will operate with Delta’s full cooperation and be given access to Delta’s facilities and personnel. Delta is to bear the cost of the investigation. The expert will be tasked with investigating and preparing a report (1)identifying the sources of collected and preserved responsive documents,and the efforts made by Delta to preserve such documents, (2) determining whether there are sources of responsive documents that have not been collected or preserved, (3) determining whether electronically stored information has been lost or destroyed, and (4) identifying any new sources of documents not previously produced.

This decision comes following numerous instances of discovery misconduct exposed by Plaintiffs’ counsel, including failures by Delta to search, produce, and preserve responsive materials, as well as false certifications by Delta’s counsel regarding the completeness of prior productions.

In the case, Plaintiffs allege that competitors Delta and AirTran Airways conspired to fix first bag fee prices, in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15, U.S.C. §§ 1-2. Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of plaintiffs defined as follows:

All persons or entities in the United States and its territories that directly paid Delta and/or AirTran one or more first bag fees on domestic flights from December 5, 2008 through the present (and continuing until the effects of Delta’s and AirTran’s anticompetitive conspiracy ceases).

The Court’s decision regarding the appointment of an e-discovery expert can be found here.

A summary of Plaintiffs’ factual allegations is available in Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Support of Class Certification at pages 6 to 16, linked here. Other documents now available for review are identified and can be found here, including several court filings, several internal Delta and AirTran e-mails, and internal analyses prepared by Delta regarding the first bag fee.