The DOJ's E-Discovery Checklist

The DOJ's E-Discovery Checklist

October 3, 2015

Here's a key e-discovery document which can be regarded as authoritative source both on the basis of who it comes from, and on its systematic approach to e-discovery: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/cle/materials/eDiscoveryforFedPractitioners/CourseMaterials/ediscovery101/ediscoveryGuidanceforFederalGovernmentProfessionals.pdf   - E-Discovery Guidance for Federal Government Professionals is the work of electronic discovery professionals with the Civil Division of the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.   It is dated, "Summer 2014" and stamped, "NOT OFFICIAL AGENCY POSITION".     This guide describes a checklist which can be found here: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/cle/materials/eDiscoveryforFedPractitioners/CourseMaterials/ediscovery101/AChronologicalChecklistofE-DiscoveryFundamentalsforFederalGovernmentProfessionals.pdf  .  The checklist covers these 9 key steps:

 

1.  Assembling a team - don't wait until the time comes to collect data to engage the people who have the ability to handle ESI.

 

2. Consult the local rules - examples include District of Kansas's “Guidelines for Discovery of Electronic Stored Information” and the District of Maryland's “Suggested Protocol for Discovery of Electronically Stored Information.”, as wells as guidelines prepared by individual judges. 

 

3.  Preservation 

     a. time period of relevant information

     b. subject matter of relevant information

     c. who has custody and control of the relevant information.

     d. the location of systems which contain the information. 

 

4.  Search, Collection and Form of Production 

   - FRCP 34(b)(1)(C) the requesting party can specify the form 

   - FRCP Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2)(B) don't to produce not reasonably accessible data because of burden or cost. 

 

5.  Privilege and Personally Identifiable Information

    - FRE 502 - producing confidential information doesn't constitute waiver.   Negotiate a Rule 502(d) order with opposing parties. 

 

6.  FRCP 26(f) conference - IT specialist should be on hand in case unanticipated burden and cost issues arise.

 

7. Follow-up to FRCP 26(f) conference -  a FRCP Rule 26(f) Discovery Plan must be filed with the court. Scope of preservation, the form of production, the timing of production, and other document matters, should be memorialized in a document production protocol.

 

8.  Cost Savings - FRCP 26(b)(2)(C)(iii)  limit discovery where burden or cost outweighs the benefit. 

 

9.  Change in Parties or Claims and Defenses  - motion practice may expand or contract list of custodians and universe of potentially relevant information.  

 

 

 

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