Destruction of Files in Electronic Record Retention Must Cease in the Event of a Lawsuit

by on July 8, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

If You’re Sued, You’re Electronic Document Retention Must Stop Deleting Files

Once you know that a case is pending or potential, you have to put a stop on the destruction of files in your electronic record retention plan, what’s called a suspension on the destruction of those records until the litigation’s over and then once the litigation’s over, you can restart the clock for that record to be destroyed.

So, if for example, a record has a five-year expiration date. At year four, you learn of a lawsuit, then obviously, you need to put a hold on that record from being destroyed until the lawsuit’s over.

If the lawsuit ends before that five year expiration of that record happens, then you just simply lift the hold on that record and you put it back in the bin scheduled for destruction when the five years arise.

If the hold is lifted after the five years have expired, then at that point then you can go back and destroy the record as soon as you’ve lifted the hold.

Now, this sounds very good in theory, but in application, it’s a nightmare when it comes to electronic record retention. So, this is all the more reason why you need to be investing in some technology that’s going to help you harness those records.

You need to be able to retrieve a subpoena record when you get hit with a document demand. You’re not necessarily a party in a lawsuit, but you have to –particularly, if you’re a government agency, you have to provide freedom of information, active information, other type of information that you may contain, sort of as a third party witness to a case. So, you need to provide that information.

The electronic record retention policy will also facilitate efficient document review and production and you can manage documents across many different cases and be able to issue litigation hold.

So, again, any electronic record retention strategy you have needs to have these issues addressed.

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