January 01, 2012

Global Litigator: Navigating Between U.S. Discovery and European Data-Protection Laws

Ltigators must sometimes dance between U.S. discovery obligations and ever-evolving European data-protection laws.

Tarifa B. Laddon

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In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus must pilot his ship through a strait with a large rock on each side. On one of the rocks is Scylla, a monster with 12 misshapen feet and 6 long necks, each capped by a frightful head with 3 rows of teeth. If Odysseus sails too close to Scylla, she will shoot out all her heads at once and carry off a man in each mouth. Below the other rock is Charybdis, a whirlpool that vomits forth her waters three times a day before she sucks them down again. Because the strait is so narrow, Odysseus is forced to choose which monster to confront. U.S. litigators face a similar—though, perhaps, slightly less vivid—dilemma as they dance between U.S. discovery obligations and the ever-evolving European data-protection laws.

Data-Protection Complications

Welcome to your nightmare. Later today you will discover that you have inadvertently undermined your firm’s relationship with one of its best clients. And you have no inkling of what is to come.


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