What happens if a competitor steals proprietary information about your business, and in the subsequent lawsuit, the judge orders the jury to make an adverse inference that the thief did not properly maintain electronic data, such as emails, not emails. produced? , or even destroyed them. But what if the roles were reversed and the judge made your company pay the thief’s costs to get those emails because they didn’t have a plan to keep them? This scenario is happening in cases across the country and will soon be a reality in civil lawsuits in Florida.
So what can businesses operating in Florida do? They can implement plans now to safeguard electronic information to protect against being penalized or sanctioned in civil lawsuits later.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice or to form an attorney-client relationship; is intended only to provide general information on this important topic.
“DISCOVERY” IN THE DIGITAL AGE
Discovery is the process in a civil lawsuit by which the parties obtain and exchange information, including documents. In the future, the parties will routinely exchange electronic documents or “ESI” (electronically stored information). To keep up with this reality, the Rules governing discovery in Florida will change on September 1, 2012.
WHAT IS THE EFFECT OF THESE NEW RULES?
The impact of these new Electronic Discovery Rules on all businesses operating in Florida is largely economic. Discovery in civil lawsuits is often where a substantial amount of expense occurs. Therefore, it is important for companies to efficiently manage these discovery expenses to avoid costly discovery expenses.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? – IMPLEMENT PRESERVATION PROTOCOLS AND ESI RETENTION LITIGATION PLANS
Florida businesses can implement the ESI Preservation Protocols and Litigation Retention Plans now, before disputes arise. This ounce of prevention is not worth a pound of cure in electronic discovery dollars, it will be worth ten.
A generic document created or downloaded internally is not likely to comply with these new Rules and Florida law, is fit for the unique circumstances of the company, and is not defensible in court. The best approach is to hire a competent business attorney who knows the technology and law of electronic discovery. That advisor can ask you the right questions and, more importantly, who can you ask questions and raise concerns with in order to understand eDiscovery and the new legal obligations imposed on your business.
So who can you turn to?
When looking for a Florida attorney for your firm to help you prepare the ESI Preservation Protocols and Litigation Retention Plans, look for those at the Bar with experience in these areas, such as certified commercial litigation attorneys. the Board and e-discovery experts. Also, keep in mind that in the digital world we live in now, your lawyer does not have to be on the street because you can communicate with him through video, email and screen sharing programs.
DO NOT WAIT TO PUT THESE PLANS IN PLACE
Be proactive. Florida courts consider entrepreneurs to be sophisticated and expect them to have these plans. The discussions that led to the enactment of these new Electronic Discovery Rules made it clear that judges will not consider the ignorance of a party or their attorneys in this new area of the law. So now is the time for your company to prepare ESI Preservation Protocols and Litigation Retention Plans with an attorney, prior to any disputes and before you are asked to fund potentially expensive electronic discovery.