New Federal Discovery Rules are Coming

Discovery is the part of the litigation process in which opposing parties exchange relevant information and testimony. Discovery helps both sides understand the facts and evidence before the trial starts. On April 12, 2006 the Supreme Court approved proposed amendments to these rules to address discovery issues that are unique to electronic discovery. These amendments will increase the pressure on corporations to proactively manage the electronic discovery process to avoid sanctions, unfavorable rulings and a loss of public trust.

The amendments will require that if your company is engaged in a law suit, prior to a discovery request you must furnish to the other party a description of electronically stored information that your company plans to use in its case. In addition, your company will be required to expand the scope of their potentially relevant data sources to include all media and all formats, including backup media, portable media, remote or third-party locations, etc.

The amendments state that absent “exceptional circumstances” you will not be subject to sanctions for failing to produce email or electronic documents “as a result of the routine, good-faith operation of an electronic information system.” However, the rules make it clear that that IT should in certain circumstances intervene to modify or suspend automatic overwriting or deletion functions to prevent the loss of information that is related to a pending case.

Here are the specific steps IT should take to be prepared for the new regulations:

#1 – Map out all places where electronic information is stored

#2 – Update your records retention policy to include all electronic information

#3 – Ensure your litigation hold policy fully covers all electronic information including backup tapes

#4 – Establish systems that simplify identification, retrieval and production of potentially relevant data

See full article by Kevin B. Roden (posted on July, 7th): New Federal Discovery Rules are Coming. How Can IT Get Ready?

This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. FindProtected makes it easier to discover electronic evidence that may be used in litigation.

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