Discovery Rules for Electronic Records Streamlined

On Dec. 1, the 2006 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure amendments go into effect. These rules, which are published by the U.S. Supreme Court and then approved by Congress, have been revised only nine times since they were established in 1938. This 10th revision alters “changes in discovery” rules that will make it easier for courts and litigating parties to manage electronic records.

This affects organizations managing IT in many ways. First, it means that in the context of legal proceedings, organizations can produce evidence in their native electronic format.

“So, if I store e-mails in a certain file format, I don’t have to worry about exporting them, printing them or changing the file in order to give it to an opposing counsel — I can actually produce it in its format,” said Brian Babineau, analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a research firm that recently published a white paper on the electronic discovery process. “There’s a significant cost reduction in the process of evidence preparation with that change.”

The second way the amendments affect organizations managing IT is by decreeing that legal counsels are expected to have a reasonable understanding of the electronic evidence that exists within their organization and the cost to produce that electronically stored information.

“The biggest problem that organizations have today when it comes to meeting these new requirements is just having an understanding of what they have and where it is to get it back…



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