New Federal Rules Impact Litigation Readiness

Three important new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will take effect on December 1, 2006, in the United States, unless Congress disapproves:

  • Rules 26 and 34 define electronically stored information and specify the form in which electronically stored information is produced.
  • Rule 37 specifies when information may be disposed of and when it must be preserved because of pending litigation.

Under these new rules, parties may argue what electronically stored information is relevant and how it is produced, but no longer can electronically stored information be excluded from litigation. Also, there's no excuse for destroying electronic information when litigation is pending. Electronically stored information shall be treated the same as paper documents.

In the short term, companies will continue to respond to electronic discovery requests on a case-by-case basis. Longer term, a more economical approach to electronic discovery of all electronically stored information is needed. Look for new products from existing and new vendors to fill this demand.

You can read the complete description of the new rules (PDF).

... Bob Spurzem

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