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Data from a Legal Perspective: How to Handle Before and During Litigation


Joseph Ruscak
Roetzel & Andress


Big data has come to automotive parts manufacturers and tire companies.  This includes the data that companies are keeping themselves, data obtained from consumers, data interaction with the vehicle and soon data the vehicle is transferring back as it becomes autonomous.  While more data can be used to a business’ advantage, it can lead to increased demands from a legal perspective.  As data proliferates the technical landscape, it improves the product and customer satisfaction.  However, the laws of discovery have not changed when a lawsuit is filed, and thus the legal requirements that surround that data can be overwhelming.

Mr. Ruscak has spent over a decade defending numerous tire companies in product liability matters and will summarize the current legal environment and offer suggestions to avoid potential traps.  Topics addressed will include handling the discovery process, what the requirements are, how the requirements have not changed as the magnitude of data expands and how the courts have reacted to requests for large data pulls.  What is the best way to help your area yet avoid the tension within companies on the amount of data to be retained or kept?  The use of larger and larger data sets will bring new challenges as the tire becomes more integrated into the vehicle as a system.


Joseph M. Ruscak focuses his practice on litigation with emphasis on the defense of product liability lawsuits involving tires and automobile components.  As part of his chemical and materials background, Mr.  Ruscak has assisted clients requiring a deeper understanding of the technical issues involving their products.  He is also a member of the firm’s E-Discovery team and practices intellectual property law including patent infringement litigation, technology transfer, licensing trademarks, and intellectual property estate management.  He represents and counsels large and small companies on product liability, intellectual property, and related legal matters in a diverse range of technologies including polymers, materials characteristics, synthetic rubber, chemicals, and tires. 

Prior to his legal career, Mr.  Ruscak worked as a chemical engineer for a Fortune 500 company and brings more than 20 years of experience in the chemical and polymer industries.  He was a former Purchasing Manager - Synthetic Rubber for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and a former technical representative to CART Indycar racing team and NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.  He also designed Original Equip0ment tires for BMW 3 – Series, BMW Mini Cooper and Mercedes Benz M- Class.  His professional affiliations include Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA), Ohio State Bar Association and Akron Bar Association.

Joe Received his B.S.  in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University and his J.D.  from the University of Akron School of Law.