SunBlock Systems and BitFlare Key in High-Profile Inquiry for City of New Orleans

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SunBlock Systems used a revolutionary technology, BitFlare, to recover thousands of missing emails relevant to a legal case against the former mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin.

Given the highly confidential nature of our work, it is very rare that we are able to disclose the use our forensic services or BitFlare

BitFlare, an automated e-discovery tool from SunBlock Systems, was key in recovering thousands of missing emails in a high-profile case brought against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin (Lee Zurik vs. C. Ray Nagin, Penya Moses-Fields and the City of New Orleans - Number 09-1317, Division "B/15"). The matter was closed on April 15 when SunBlock, a leading provider of computer forensics and e-discovery services, released their final report detailing the findings of their examination, including the successful recovery of 5,400 emails.

"Given the highly confidential nature of our work, it is very rare that we are able to disclose the use our forensic services or BitFlare," says David Sun, President of SunBlock Systems.  "This case provided an excellent example of our unique capabilities in electronic discovery. Using BitFlare, we were able to produce initial email findings on-site and leverage the assistance of city employees during forensic preservation of the computers."

The case began in early 2009 when WWL-TV sued City Hall for its failure to disclose thousands of email messages and calendar appointments under the state public records law. It was found that, in spite of state laws and city policies requiring City Hall to retain e-mail messages related to public businesses for years before destroying them, the mayor regularly deleted his email messages. It was also discovered that data backups were saved for an average of only two weeks.

In its final report to the City of New Orleans, SunBlock Systems disclosed the following:

  • A claim that Nagin's files were deliberately erased was false. Rather, a prior group misinterpreted a technical analysis that is used to detect whether data were deleted.
  • In failing to employ "forensic protocols," a prior group altered data on two servers, destroying "potentially forensic data."
  • Thousands of Nagin's e-mail messages were located by examining hardware including a second file server, three BlackBerry devices purportedly used by the mayor, the computers of his key staff members, and additional backup storage at City Hall.
  • The city lacked clear archiving procedures for electronic records, and most city employees were unaware of the email retention policy.

M. Harrison Boyd, the Chief Technology Officer for the City of New Orleans noted, "BitFlare allowed my staff to perform functions which would normally cost the City of New Orleans thousands of dollars in consultants' fees while still allowing for independent validation of the results. In addition, the in-situ analysis capabilities of BitFlare allowed us to receive forensic analysis of the results on the spot."

Interested parties can find more information and download a copy of BitFlare by visiting http://www.BitFlare.com.

About SunBlock Systems

SunBlock Systems, established in 2002, specializes in providing computer forensics and litigation support services. The highly trained computer forensics professionals at SunBlock offer state-of-the-art technical expertise, investigative skills, and experience in obtaining and protecting electronic evidence for use in litigation. SunBlock Systems has assisted large corporations and law firms around the world and foreign and domestic governments with high-profile matters. To learn more, visit http://www.SunBlockSystems.com.

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Monika Jansen
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