Leveraging Discovery Special Masters in Complex Business Cases: A Case Study

Insights From Plaintiff's Counsel, Defense Counsel and Discovery Special Master

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss how using a discovery special master in complex business litigation can save significant fees, costs and time, and help the parties more quickly resolve their dispute. The panel will offer a case study illustrating the advantages of using a discovery special master in a commercial case involving hundreds of document requests, electronically stored information (ESI) from U.S. and international locations, over 100 third-party subpoenas, and more than 100 anticipated depositions, many in foreign jurisdictions.


Discovery in complex business cases presents unique challenges. Between traditional discovery and ESI, discovery in a complicated case can often add layers of complexity, cost, time and frustration to an already difficult case.

Traditional discovery in complex cases is already rife with disputes. When disputes regarding the breadth and scope of ESI are layered on top of those disputes, discovery can easily come to a standstill. How do you keep discovery moving in cases where the parties argue on almost every discovery issue? The courts have full dockets and neither the time nor inclination to devote enough resources to become “experts” in the discovery issues in your case.

Using a discovery special master offers an alternative to the traditional discovery route that can save time and money and help the case resolve more quickly. Selecting a seasoned trial lawyer to serve as discovery special master and handle all discovery-related issues—rather than referring those issues to the court—can streamline discovery, save significant fees, costs and time, and help the parties get to a place where they can evaluate and ultimately settle the case at a point that might not be possible under a more traditional model.

Listen as our authoritative panel presents a case study illustrating the benefits of using a discovery special master in CryoLife Inc. v. Medafor Inc., a complex business dispute between two biomedical companies over an exclusive distribution agreement. You'll hear from the discovery special master and counsel for both the plaintiff and defendant as they discuss how the discovery special master reduced the burden on the court while providing expertise, case focus, and speedy resolution of difficult discovery issues.



  1. Discovery issues in CryoLife Inc. v. Medafor Inc.
  2. Deciding whether to use a discovery special master
  3. Selecting the discovery special master
  4. Relationship between the court and the discovery special master
  5. Working with the discovery special master
  6. Role of discovery special master in mediation and settlement


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • The parameters, duties and authority of the discovery special master
  • The elements of the order appointing the discovery special master
  • The optimal qualities and experience to look for in a discovery special master
  • The ethical issues to consider when using a discovery special master
  • The role of the discovery special master in facilitating settlement


Henry R. Chalmers
Henry R. Chalmers

Arnall Golden Gregory

Mr. Chalmers is Co-Chair of the firm’s Litigation group, where he focuses his practice on complex litigation and...  |  Read More

Cochran, Anthony
Anthony L. Cochran

Chilivis Cochran Larkins & Bever

Mr. Cochran represents individuals and businesses in a wide variety of matters. He has tried jury trials, bench trials,...  |  Read More

Lisa L. Heller
Lisa L. Heller

Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield

Ms. Heller has litigated and argued appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country. She has particular...  |  Read More

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