Half of businesses not meeting federal e-mail discovery, retention rules

* What do you know about the e-discovery?

Not as much as you think you do. That’s the opinion of 400 IT managers who were asked about how the new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) impact their e-mail operations.

Managed messaging service provider LiveOffice commissioned a study from Osterman Research that showed these results.

Sixty-three percent of the survey respondents have had to produce an e-mail as the result of a legal action. Fifty-three percent said they could not meet FRCP regulations, which provide for the discovery and retention of electronic records and the ability to retrieve them if economically feasible.

One-third of the respondents said that they would not be able to produce e-mails that were more than a year old. Twenty-five percent of the organizations regularly delete their e-mails after 90 days.

The Osterman survey showed that 80% of the information in litigation cases is electronic. Seventy-nine percent of employees polled said they have used e-mail to protect themselves. On the reserve side of things, even if organizations had e-mail retention in place to protect themselves in e-discovery situations, 70% of those surveyed said they could delete e-mails without them being flagged.

One in three organizations said they are not at all familiar with the requirements of the FRCP. Not surprisingly, more than half of the companies have no e-discovery plan.

Finally, half of the IT managers would rather go to the dentist and have a cavity filled than respond to an e-discovery request.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.