You could find yourself in a tough spot if legal action is taken against your school district regarding the exchange of electronic information. However, by staying informed of all the nuances, rules and regulations around electronic discovery (eDiscovery), you’ll be much better off in the case of litigation.
Saving everything isn’t the easy way out.
Choosing to be safe over being sorry doesn’t necessarily mean that you should become an electronic data hoarder. Having the data is part of being compliant, but presenting the required data as evidence in a timely manner is yet another necessity. Saving everything could mean that you have to take either more time or more resources to sort through the data in the event of litigation. Saving everything isn’t an efficient approach and any cost savings you thought you’d have goes out the door.
Electronic evidence is discoverable even if it hasn’t been transmitted.
That’s right, even electronic records you thought that you deleted can be considered discoverable as evidence in a court case. Furthermore, evidence that you aren’t aware of is also discoverable. All it takes is a competent computer technician and even the early drafts of email can be recovered.
eDiscovery is here to stay.
Email was first mentioned in the 1972 Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Midwest Video Corp. 1984’s William T. Thompson Co. v. General Nutrition Corp is general considered the first case to impose sanctions for the failure to produce electronic documents as part of the discovery process. Then, in 2006, the US Supreme Court amended its rules to subject email to discovery.
Today, no matter the root of the issue that brings you to litigation, you will be required to present your electronic data during the case. Because the majority of communication and data is now stored electronically, the probability of your data playing a role in your next civil litigation is quite high.
Be prepared for eDiscovery. Because technology moves at such a rapid pace, the regulations around eDiscovery continue to expand. Be aware of these changes to protect yourself and your school district.