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Network World - Organizations are woefully unprepared to comply with amendments to the U.S. court system’s Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that call for businesses to retain and be able to produce electronic records, recent studies show.
The new rules, which were approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in April and will take effect on Friday, require any business that could be involved in litigation in federal court to retain electronic records — such as e-mails, instant messages and text documents — and be able to retrieve them if economically feasible. The rules also require company attorneys and IT managers to be able to show how electronic records are stored, what mechanisms are in place to retrieve them, and when and how they are deleted (see graphic).
Virtually all businesses are affected by the new rules, analysts say. Companies involved in litigation related to lawsuits that cross state lines, Internal Revenue Service actions, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or Sarbanes-Oxley violations, for example, are expected to comply. According to industry analysts, events requiring electronic discovery are becoming more common: A survey by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) shows that 91% of organizations with more than 20,000 employees have experienced an electronic discovery involving e-mail in the past 12 months.
Many businesses are not aware of the new amendments, however. Of 75 company attorneys surveyed by LexisNexis Applied Discovery, more than half weren’t aware of the Friday compliance deadline. Just 7% said their companies would be able to comply with the new rules.