These days the use of e-discovery, or electronic discovery, is standard practice for employment-related civil litigation.
At Sherman Law Corporation, we help California clients with everything from lawsuits brought by disgruntled employees to investigating workplace claims to termination decisions. We work hard to provide the most up-to-date guidance on electronic discovery.
What Is E-Discovery?
E-discovery is quite simply the gathering and sharing of all communications that are exchanged electronically between parties in a lawsuit.
These can include:
- Group chats,
- Instant messages,
- PDFs and .docs that are sent through intra-office communications, and
- Any other types of electronic communication used by the company or employees
Now that most companies have evolved to electronic communications, e-discovery is an important part of any employment-related civil litigation.
Like any legal tool, e-discovery has advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully managed by people experienced in e-discovery.
The Advantages Of E-Discovery
Some of the advantages of e-discovery include:
- Authentication Of Communication: Electronic communication is prohibitively difficult to fake. Metadata (information about the data) embedded in the communication will reveal facts like the date and time that the communication was sent or posted which created irrefutable evidence in a legal proceeding.
- Faster Processing: When communications can be conveyed electronically and the parties involved don’t need to waste time collecting, printing, and sending hard copies of communications back and forth the time so the case can proceed at a good pace. Proceedings won’t get bogged down in delays that are entirely avoidable when e-discovery is used.
- No Data Is Ever Really Lost: There’s a saying that once you put something online, it’s there forever – and to an extent, that’s true. Even when communications are deleted or destroyed there are traces of those communications left behind. Those traces can be pieced together to provide a new copy of communications or to rebuild enough of the original data that it can be used as evidence in a legal case.
- All Modifications Or Deletions Are Documented: When electronic documents and communications are edited or modified all of those changes are documented so that there’s no one for one party to change something without the other party knowing. That way all communications are fair and visible to all of the parties involved.
- Wide Variety of Opportunities for Evidence: This type of evidence, including websites, social media, photographs, recordings, instant messages, texts, emails, and internet browser records, can provide significant information, and, in fact, damning evidence is often found in ESI.
The Disadvantages Of E-Discovery
Some of the disadvantages of e-discovery are:
- The Costs: E-discovery indeed takes less time than physically gathering communications, but it still does take time and the use of e-discovery can be expensive because most companies fail to implement retention policies that reduce the amount of data E-discovery collection, review and production is expensive.
- Cyber Security: One of the biggest disadvantages of using e-discovery is the security of electronic communications. While most of the time electronic communications are very safe there is always the chance that communications could be compromised by an outside actor or held for ransom in a cyber attack.
- Preserving Data Can Be A Challenge: Another problem that arises with e-discovery is preserving the data that has been collected in a way that will keep it safe.
- California Requires ESI Consultants: California requires that attorneys use ESI consultants to make sure that the data collected is collected safely and ethically. This can add to the expense of e-discovery and the time it takes to complete e-discovery.
Contact Sherman Law Corporation Today
Our team of experienced California business attorneys at Sherman Law Corporation can use e-discovery to help businesses protect themselves in cases of employment litigation. Contact us at Sherman Law Corporation today to discuss your unique situation with an experienced employment litigator.