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Stacy Jackson wrote an excellent article on records and litigation in the November/December 2011 issue of Information Management.
Let me summarize a bit of the article. In lawsuits, sometimes individuals are the target of litigation, but many times, the organization, itself, is the target. For instance, a certain policy that a company maintains or fails to maintain might be the reason for the suit. When this is the case, individuals become obligated, through the legal process, to speak on behalf of the organization.
The U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) Rule 30(b)(6) provides the guidelines for attorneys when this happens. Attorneys will use this rule as a starting point for learning about the organization. With the massive amounts of electronic information companies gather and store, IT staff and records managers are called in to speak on behalf of the company or organization.
IT professionals can provide information relevant to where the data is stored. Records professionals provide information on what types of records are stored, for how long, and how those records are safeguarded and destroyed after they have met their retention requirements.
You can read the article here: What Records Professionals Need to Know
There is a lot of important information in the article.
One issue that I , as a business owner, gleaned from the article is:
1. That you need to manage your digital records
2. That you must be familiar with retention-related laws and take actions so you keep and make accessible relevant records
3. That you must delete those records when you no longer need them and are not required by law to keep them
If a firm keeps any and all e-mails, memos, and other information with no retention policies, litigation and e-discovery becomes extremely expensive.
Please contact me or my staff with any records related questions or problems.