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E-DISCOVERY & LITIGATION

INTRODUCTION

E-discovery also known as electronic discovery involves the Collection, Preservation, delivery, and exchange of data as evidence in litigation. E-discovery means the information sought in electronic form this stored data is known as Electronically Stored Data. It helps legal professionals during the stage of litigation E-discovery is helpful for lawsuits and investigations. It comes in the role at the initial stage of litigation when dispute parties have to provide each other evidence for the case. It is the process of exchanging data and controlling the production of data in litigation.

These types of information can be stored as data: email accounts, messages, image files, audio files, video files, social profiles, chats, online documents, databases, websites, and any other electronic information E-discovery is governed by the electronic discovery reference model (EDRM). It is usually used in large investigations E-discovery is helpful for large volumes of data.

E-discovery has revolutionized the legal sector It is software, which helps in the discovery phase of litigation and investigation it helps lawyers in discovering important information. In the case of  United States v. Warshak, 631 F.3d 266 (6th Cir. 2010) and United States v. O’Keefe, 537 F. Supp. 2d 14 (D.D.C. 2008) these two cases dealt with the debate over providing the documents in the court about documents format and discovery process. E-discovery software automates the process of E-discovery and saves the time of lawyers while reducing the expenses spends on discovery and lowering the data-related risks. It is a process of managing electronic evidence in litigation. Finding important information the old way was a very difficult job but E-discovery makes it so easy to find important information from mountains of data.

E-DISCOVERY STAGES

  1. Information Governance

Information governance (IG) uses to manage the e-discovery from beginning to ending along with that it reduces the cost of E-discovery as well.

  1. Identification

Parties must make an effort to preserve evidence when a lawsuit is about to be filed. How do you decide which data to save, though? An E-discovery team conducts key stakeholder interviews, reviews case details, and digital environment analysis during the identification phase to decide what data needs to be retained.

  1. Preservation

Data owners instruct to maintain data after being recognized and instruct not to delete that data. In the case of Hollis v. CEVA Logistics parties fails to preserve important evidence data.

  1. Collection

Electronic secured information collection is a difficult task. Therefore, prevention of evidence from being altered or modify is necessary and data must be gathered in a forensically sound manner.

  1. Processing

Raw data is frequently disorganized and not appropriate for presentation in front of lawyers or the courts. The processing stage of e-discovery help in data organization this process is automated by using the software.

  1. Review

Before presenting the data, it is essential to review the data reviewing procedure performed manually or with the aid of Artificial Intelligence. This step identifies the documents, those protected by the client-attorney privilege, and then lawyers, paralegals, and parties review those documents.

  1. Analysis

The documents got organized and ready for presentation. However, before presenting the documents it is important to analyze the documents.

  1. Production

The electronically stored information exchanging stage ESI needs to send to parties in the right and organized manner.

  1. Presentation

It is the last stage of the e-discovery process in which evidence is presented in front of judges, panels, and counsel E-discovery is organized in easy to read manner.

IMPORTANCE OF E-DISCOVERY IN LITIGATION

The litigation stage during the case becomes faster since artificial intelligence comes into the discovery process. In past, the discovery stage of litigation was a challenging phase because it used to take a lot of time and money. E-discovery collects important information quickly, which boost performance it automates the discovery process which provides a quality legal process it helps lawyer in decision-making and helps them in discovering the right information in a short period E-discovery protects law firms from potential legal risks and improves the accuracy with its collection, review electronic data quickly E-Discovery protects secure sensitive data. E-discovery plays a major role in litigation, which can be beneficial for parties.

E-DISCOVERY CHALLENGES

  1. Legal and IT

Lawyers did not need an IT team in the past days because there was a paper-based discovery, which does not need to handle by an IT team but now the legal and IT team both need to work together for a better E-discovery process and the IT team makes this process easier.

  1. Huge amount of data

It is the biggest challenge for an E-discovery platform to deal with the high volume of data because some cases involve a huge amount of data and it becomes difficult to find out important information from the huge amount of data. In the case of United States v. Briggs, No. 10CR184S, 2011 government produces lots of records in electronic format so the court can’t able to search documents properly so at the end court held the onus to produce electronic documents will fell on Government. E-discovery provides search options from which relevant data can be found in a short period.

  1. Data Security

Data safety is an important factor because confidential information is shared with other party and it has the risk of unauthorized access to data even though ESI minimize the risk and protect the data E-discovery provides password protection along with two or more factor of authorization.

  1. Law

When you share ESI, data across borders than the other countries, where you shared the data those countries have different laws, rules, and regulations for data so then you need to comply with those laws so sometimes it is also a major challenge for E-discovery.

  1. Cost

If a law firm hires a person to review data manually then the firm may have to pay, a big amount to that person on the other side E-discovery software automates the process, which is less expensive compared to the individual so it saves the costs.

CONCLUSION

During the beginning stage of litigation or investigation, parties need to collect and preserve important data. In the case of Fast v. GoDaddy.com, the plaintiff failed to preserve important data. E-discovery software helps in the process of exchanging data as evidence during litigation. E-discovery software makes the litigation process easy. It increased the security levels to save confidential information because of its password protections and from E-discovery, you can find the right information from a large amount of data in a short time, which can protect the client in litigation and it, can be time and money-saving for the parties. E-discovery helps law firms in litigation and investigations because it reduces costs and saves time.

Author(s) Name: Himanshu Bisht (Maharshi Dayanand University)