Electronic discovery litigation deals with the exchange of information in electronic format. Electronic information in the form of E-mail and the Internet have given businesses the ability to cheaply and easily catalog electronic data, making them more efficient and more responsive to the needs of their customers. But, it has also transformed the nature of litigation and the types of information a business is obligated to disclose when it becomes involved in a lawsuit.
The greatest danger involved in electronic discovery is that the opposing party may accuse your business of ignoring its obligations to maintain data or worse, assert that you have intentionally destroyed relevant information. If the court agrees and determines that you or your employees intentionally deleted discoverable information, sanctions may be imposed. The court may give a spoliation instruction and permit the jury to infer that the missing evidence would have been damaging to your case. And if the court decides that the discovery violation was particularly egregious, it may impose even more extreme sanctions, such as the entry of a default judgment.
The best way to avoid problems with electronic discovery is to plan ahead. Tuesley Hall Konopa can help you identify potentially troublesome issues and provide guidance regarding the discovery of electronic business records. We can advise your business in developing both a general policy regarding electronic records and a specific plan in the event of litigation. The overall policy should determine the type of records that will be maintained in the ordinary course of business and how long those records will be kept. What constitutes a reasonable policy will necessarily depend on the nature of the industry and cost considerations.
If you are faced with litigation that may include discovery of electronic documents, consult the attorneys at Tuesley Hall Konopa who can help you manage the process and understand your obligations to provide current or recovered data. Call 574.232.3538.