The IT department has come to play an integral part in eDiscovery. So, to help them help the attorneys, here are five common legal terms IT should know to ease the process.
1. Electronically Stored Information (ESI)
ESI is ditigal information that requires computer hardware and software to create, modify, store, and use. For example, an MS Outlook email message is an ESI because a computer with the Outlook program is required to create, modify, store, and communicate that email message.
A subpoena is a court order requiring a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify, and usually to produce documents in the witness's possession and control. For instance, an IT Records Manager might be subpoenaed by the opposing party to testify to the company's procedure or policy regarding routine deletion of email messages. Here's what a subpoena form used in federal courts looks like.
Interrogatories are written questions that the opposing party asks and that must be answered in writing under oath. There are two types of interrogatories. Form interrogatories are standard questions that are asked in every lawsuit (e.g., the witness's current address, occupation, education, etc.). Specific interrogatories are questions tailored to the particular allegation the opposing party is making. In eDiscovery, for example, an Information Manager may be required to answer questions (with the help of the company's attorney) about the location of certain ESI.
A deposition is the oral questioning of a witness and the recording of that witness's testimony under oath before a court reporter. The deponent (witness) is usually notified by a subpoena that she is to be deposed (questioned) . In eDiscovery, for instance, the opposing party might depose the Chief Information Officer regarding the company's records/documents management policies.
5. Litigation Hold
A litigation hold is a company's internal communication requiring all information (paper and ESI) that concerns the subject of a current or impending lawsuit to be preserved for possible inspection by the opposing party. Here's a sample of what a litigation hold looks like.