Posts Tagged ‘Electronic Discovery’


Why E-Discovery Protocol?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Too many Electronically Saved Information cases are left pending, without ever discovering the light of a solution in sight. The E-Discovery protocol is expected to facilitate the just, speedy, and inexpensive conduct of discovery involving Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in civil cases, and to promote, whenever possible, the resolution of disputes regarding the discovery of ESI without the intervention.

Lawyers engaged in civil litigation on smaller matters are not sure regarding the extent to which ESI must be preserved. They are worried about the costs associated with identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, and producing this information. This uncertainty, and a lack of understanding of the technical issues involved, forces many lawyers to choose one of the two extremes: over preservation to prevent sanctions or delegate preservation responsibilities to vendors or the clients themselves.

Without the benefit of large E-Discovery budgets, attorneys handling smaller matters may find themselves trapped. Engaging an outside expert to assess the client’s technology infrastructure and implement an appropriate E-Discovery protocol is prohibitively expensive. Clients may not be comfortable with the internal information being assessed by outside experts when their own technology personnel can handle the chunk of information. They may question the need to hire outside experts. These are, of course, reasonable arguments

Usually the time consuming collection of ESI may even go waste. Then there is the attorney review time which again takes a long time to process including the chunks of useless data that must have been collected. An E-Discovery protocol is intended to provide the parties with a comprehensive framework to address and resolve a wide range of ESI issues but it is not intended to be an inflexible checklist.

The Court expects parties to consider the nature of the claim, the amount in controversy, agreements of the parties, the relative ability of the parties to conduct discovery of ESI, and such other factors as may be relevant under the circumstances. Therefore not all aspects of this Protocol may be applicable or practical for a particular matter, and indeed, if the parties do not intend to seek discovery of ESI it may be entirely inapplicable to a particular case. The Court encourages the parties to use this Protocol in cases in which there will be discovery of ESI, and to resolve ESI issues informally and without supervision whenever possible.

Scope of E-Discovery Protocol

Friday, April 15th, 2011

E-Discovery has raised many important issues for litigators and their clients, including evidence integrity, preservation of meta data and its forensic value, recovery of electronic documents from backup tapes, the sheer volume of electronically stored information (ESI) and its impact on the scope of discovery and burden on the parties, and the suitable exchange of electronic
documents.

In December 2006, the US through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, introduced wide ranging measures to tackle these issues. Ever since the US courts have adopted these measures. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure altered the federal litigation expanse by imposing certain strict rules on litigants. The litigants now have to discuss early in the case a range of matters relating to the discovery of their ESI. It also provides for an early discussion of the assertion of privilege claims. The scope of E-Discovery protocol has now changed from how it was earlier dealt with and not dealt with.

Before the new federal rules came into existence, litigants had to deal with issues related to ESI without a specified framework of rules specifying their disclosure and production obligations. Often, due to a lack of refinement of E-Discovery, the requesting parties’ counsel makes responding parties either to ignore their E-Discovery obligations or to run out the clock without providing any significant E-Discovery responses, information or ESI. The prohibitive cost involved in E-Discovery makes parties concerned failing to press the E-Discovery button.

The Federal Rules’ empowerment of federal courts to take charge of E-Discovery protocol matters, puts an end to the old status quo in ESI production. More federal courts (and state courts who rely on federal case law as instructive) are cautioning litigants to negotiate and reach early agreement on what ESI will be produced, when, and how.

The federal litigants who do not detail in advance about the what and how E-Discovery is going to be done and who will pay for it, face the prospect of having an unsympathetic court make those choices for them. This eventually leads to expensive consequences that could have been avoided. With many state courts now citing federal precedent, and with many states now adopting E-Discovery protocol rules similar to the new Federal Rules, this promises to be a real possibility in state court as well.

Electronic Discovery Services

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Electronic data discovery is a collection of huge chunks of data that is either lost due to some accident or deleted due to some reason. Such electronic data retrieved is used in litigation cases where electronic data is evidence.

Electronic document discovery services for law firms and corporate clients involved in litigation are no longer a matter of requesting printed copies of documents. New and extremely valuable data can be found in accounting systems, Email or databases if one knows where to look. This retrieval requires processing and review of large volumes of desperate data, many times eliminating the expense of converting irrelevant data.

Electronic discovery enables you to streamline e-discovery by providing a window into your case data before data processing and review. It helps you gain control and transparency by determining filtering guidelines.

Electronic data discovery includes retrieval of e-mails, voice mails, instant messages, e-calendars, audio files, data on handheld devices, animation, metadata, graphics, photographs, spreadsheets and other types of digital data. E-discovery can also be in the form offline discovery carried out on a particular computer for a particular case.

Computer forensics is an electronic data discovery service that includes the collection, preservation, analysis, and presentation of computer-related evidence. Computer evidence can be useful in criminal cases, civil disputes, and human resources/employment proceedings.

Computer forensics is a specialized form of e-discovery in which an investigation is carried out on the contents of the hard drive of a specific computer. After physically isolating the computer, investigators make a digital copy of the hard drive. Then the original computer is locked in a secure facility to maintain its pristine condition. All investigation is done on the digital copy.

When a case goes for trial, computer evidence can prove to vital for judges in making a decision. This can prove a reversal of the case entirely. Electronic discovery services are extremely useful when compared to traditional evidences and helps dig the smallest of evidences to alter a case.

Email Discovery as Electronic Evidence

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

In today’s legal discovery world, electronically stored information requires special attention in litigation. The recent emphasis on producing electronically stored information requires an e-discovery team to apply legal principles to information technology. But electronically stored information in some cases drive them out of business, especially in companies as they are unaware to find electronically stored information, especially Email and associated attachments. Most email discovery efforts relate to the collection and review of Email as they remain one of the highest risk areas.

Email is most popularly used by all the people for communication of personal or business related matters. Currently more than 1000 million Email accounts are in use Worldwide, with an average of more than 4 Email accounts per person. With the Email accounts, all your incoming, saved, and sent mail is stored on a mail server with in IMAP folders. As we know we all rely on Email to operate our businesses in our personal lives, it is important to take preventive measures to avoid the ultimate disaster of unrecoverable Email.

The message index in the Email s lists the messages and is stored as entries in a database associated with the file structure. When you delete mail messages the attachments of the deleted file are also deleted as well. How ever you can restore them as they are only moved to a special deleted message folder called Trash folder, like the files in Recycle bin. These deleted Email s still remain on a computer hard drive, servers or retained on back-up tapes.

After deleting the Email from the folder, it reduces the size of the database file by eliminating this vacant space. Once they get deleted they restore it in the trash folder, which can be easily retrieved. These files are not removed from an index of the files, they just move to the trash directory and the space is considered to be available for writing new data.

But if an Email in the trash folder is deleted again then it is no longer indexed and no longer readily accessible. But these files are not truly deleted; they still exist on your hard drive. These deleted files have not been erased, but in most of the cases they can be easily retrieved. To retrieve the data from the trash files, forensic examination is required to locate and retrieve them. In some circumstances, these mails may be impossible to retrieve from the server, hard drive or pc because they have been overwritten by other files.

Even if your Email is completely lost, then these mail recovery tools are used to scan the entire hard disk, locate and recovers the deleted Email and also repairs the database if it is corrupted.

Imagine your Email database deleted or the file system corrupted. If that happens, you would need an undelete tool to get the files back. Though the database becomes corrupted, the data content may still exist, but the structure of the file may be wrong such that the mail cannot list the messages. Then you need to use email discovery tools typically to scan your hard disk and list a whole bunch of files with damaged, crippled file names.

As different mail programs store data in different formats like word, Excel, csv, pdfs etc, you must use a data recovery tool that supports the mail software you are using. For Outlook Express or Windows Mail, Mail Recovery is effective and easy to use, For Microsoft outlook files to recover, you need Outlook recovery, and for Mozilla thunderbird mail folders you can recover by using a text editor as they are plain text files.

To avoid severe legal sanctions, you need an easy way to search for relevant Email in order to quickly meet legal discovery requests. In fact, an effective Email discovery solution can help mitigate these legal risks. www.Datatriage.com is one of the leading experts in the field of email discovery, which restores electronically stored information in Email and associated attachments.

Technical Considerations in Review Process of E-Discovery

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Decision-making, backing up your data and managing a review database to acquire digital data in your company is no longer a solvency for your problem in E-discovery, though you decide to go with the legal attorney for review process in E-Discovery. Data collection plays a key role in review process. There are some technical issues that need to be considered, which will help the legal team in identifying potential problems as well as successful review in E-Discovery.

Following are checklist of technical issues that can aid in this review process of E-discovery:

ISP (Internet service provider) will look simple but in most cases they are overlooked. Reliability, network speed and throughput can have a tremendous impact supplied by the ISP. Consult your network engineer and find who you’re ISP (Internet service provider) is and how reliable are they. So that Ip addresses at the main location can be rerouted. For eg: When you access your personal E-mail from your own Internet service provider, chances are your E-mail comes to you from your ISP’s E-mail servers in one of three ways POP (Post office protocol), IMAP (Internet mail access protocol), MAPI (Messaging Application Programming Interface) or HTTP (Hyper text transfer protocol),which helps in finding out the e-mail.

Bandwidth: Routers, hubs, firewalls, cables, and modems all these will effect the actual bandwidth. The bandwidth fluctuates time to time. An average sampling of this bandwidth should be taken every day. This is very important because the reviewers are going to access the data online and check whether they have the actual bandwidth speed. Use the online support tools to measure the speed of bandwidth that provide upload and download speed.

Map out the number of hops associated with each computer and review location Tracert is a network command tool used to show the route taken by the packets across an IP network i.e. the information from your computer to one you specify. This tracert command lists all the routers it passes through, until it reaches its destination and will also tell you how long each ‘hop’ from the router to router takes. This will provide lots of relevant information to the networker.

Use web analytic software to view the reviewers and location This will impact adversely if 100 reviewers are trying to access the same information, resources or website from the same physical location at the same time, verses only 10 reviewers doing the same. By making a list of total number of reviewers and their physical access location, we can estimate how long a review will take and from which place.

Software Configuration In order to ensure that Web usage is consistent it is necessary to ensure that software’s are configured in a consistent manner. You should ensure that the Web server is configured so that appropriate information is recorded and that changes to relevant server options or data processing are documented.

Not all the time the web usage data might give true indication of usage of data. This is due several factors such as effects of caches, cookies, browser types, auditing tools, etc. Despite these reservations collecting and analyzing usage data can provide valuable information.

Fire wall operation The loss of files, e-mails, financial records can be avoided in conjunction with the other security issues, with the help of Firewall. Firewall is necessary for almost every review process, because they it plays a vital role in overall performance of network. Check whether your firewall is blocking your ports or whether it is accessing the internet through identified specific ports? Most of the firewall has the devices such as NAT(Network address translation) which protects you by hiding the internal ip address to outsiders from reaching your internal network and also inspects the incoming visitors, and also has additional features by terminating the VPN (Virtual private network) which allows the users to securely communicate using encrypted traffic.

Data collection always plays a key role in review process of E-Discovery. After gathering the information based on the checklist of technical issues make a decision by sharing with your technical support team, whether these are with in normal parameters. This will enable the legal team to address for developing the solutions to potential issues and will set up a successful E-Discovery review. www.datatriage.com is the best practice for the corporate firms, who possess both the technical and legal knowledge to set up a successful claim.