Electronic Discovery Law
Middle District of Pennsylvania Enacts New Local Rule Addressing Electronic Discovery, Effective December 1, 2005
The new Local Rule 26.1 creates a duty on the part of counsel to "inquire into the computerized information-management systems used by their clients so that they are knowledgeable about the operation of those systems, including how information is stored and how it can be retrieved." The new rule also requires counsel to "inform their clients of the need to preserve information stored in computerized information-management systems so that information relevant to the claims or defenses in the case is not in any way destroyed." In addition, the new rule sets out a number of e-discovery topics the parties must discuss in their Local Rule 16.3(a) conference of attorneys. Click "Continue Reading" below for the the full text of the new rule.
LR 26.1 DUTY TO INVESTIGATE AND DISCLOSE
(a) Prior to the conference of attorneys required by Local Rule 16.3, counsel for the parties shall inquire into the computerized information-management systems used by their clients so that they are knowledgeable about the operation of those systems, including how information is stored and how it can be retrieved. At the same time, counsel shall inform their clients of the need to preserve information stored in computerized information-management systems so that information relevant to the claims or defenses in the case is not in any way destroyed.
(b) In making the disclosures required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1), the parties must disclose information and files stored within their computerized information-management systems to the same extent they would be required to disclose information, files or documents stored by any other means.
(c) During the conference of attorneys required by Local Rule 16.3(a), in addition to those matters described in that rule, counsel shall discuss and seek to reach agreement on the following:
(1) Computer-Based Information in General. Counsel shall attempt to agree on steps the parties will take to segregate and preserve computer-based information in order to avoid accusations of spoliation. Counsel shall also attempt to agree on the steps the parties will take to comply with the decisions and rules requiring the preservation of potentially relevant information after litigation has commenced.
(2) E-Mail Information. Counsel shall attempt to agree on the scope of e-mail discovery and e-mail search protocol.
(3) Deleted Information. Counsel shall attempt to agree on whether deleted information still exists, the extent to which restoration of deleted information is needed, and who will bear the costs of restoration.
(4) Back-Up and Archival Data. Counsel shall attempt to agree on whether back-up and archival data exists, the extent to which back-up and archival data is needed, and who will bear the cost of obtaining such data.
(5) Costs. Counsel shall discuss the anticipated scope, cost, and time required for disclosure or production of data beyond what is reasonably available to the parties in the ordinary course of business, and shall attempt to agree on the allocation of costs.
(6) Format and Media. Counsel shall discuss and attempt to agree on the format and media to be used in the production of electronic information.
(7) Privileged Material. Counsel shall attempt to reach an agreement regarding what will happen in the event privileged electronic material or information is inadvertently disclosed.
(d) In the event the parties cannot agree on the matters described in subparagraph (c), counsel shall note the issue of disagreement in Section 10 (Other Matters) of the joint case management plan so that the Court may, if appropriate, address the matter during the case-management conference.
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