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A United States perspective on electronic discovery rules and electronic evidence

Burke T. Ward (Villanova School of Business, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA)
Janice C. Sipior (Villanova School of Business, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania, USA)
Linda Volonino (Richard J. Wehle Business School, Canisius College, Buffalo, New York, USA)
Carolyn Purwin (West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 2 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges confronting organizations in responding to the recent electronic discovery (e‐discovery) amendments to the US federal rules of civil procedure. Failure to comply with these rules, even unintentionally, can have significant adverse legal consequences for parties of the lawsuit. The vast majority of information and data is electronic and stored in numerous files and on a variety of media. Thus, there is a critical need to better manage electronic content and implement a strategic approach to accommodate new rules, legislation, and ever‐changing technology. In response, the authors provide recommendations for enterprise‐wide e‐discovery readiness.

Design/methodology/approach

To investigate the legal theory for e‐discovery, the authors examine precedent‐setting legal cases for the purpose of providing managerial recommendations for developing and implementing a comprehensive policy for compliance and litigation purposes.

Findings

According to the authors' evaluation of the amendments and applicable case law, the new rules make clear that electronic information and data are discoverable, and that failure to protect and store in a retrievable format may lead to adverse legal consequences.

Practical implications

To better prepare for the duties imposed by the e‐discovery amendments, the authors recommend the formation of an enterprise‐wide multi‐functional electronically stored information Discovery Team to develop, implement, and periodically review a comprehensive electronic records management policy and procedures for compliance and litigation purposes.

Originality/value

The authors take into consideration the dearth of information systems literature addressing the critical need to better manage electronic content and to implement an enterprise‐wide strategic approach to accommodate the requirements of e‐discovery, or face costly consequences.

Keywords

Citation

Ward, B.T., Sipior, J.C., Volonino, L. and Purwin, C. (2011), "A United States perspective on electronic discovery rules and electronic evidence", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 268-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506161111155405

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited