A legal hold, also referred to as hold, preservation, distribute, freeze announcement, keep order, or retain, notification or communication to the organization to preserve all forms of relevant information, because of the reasonably anticipated study, review, or lawsuit. A legal hold suspends the proper disposal or processing of data.
The purpose of the legal hold is to prevent spoliation or loss of information that might connect concerning upcoming court.
Legal Hold and eDiscovery
With today’s technology, organizations use digital data in day-to-day operations. While this seems to be an advantage in doing tasks and increase productivity, to rely on the use of digital data has caused rapid growth of electronically stored information (ESI). This has led to the recent changes in the US Federal Rules of Civil Procedure reservations inclusion of digital data in a legal hold (eDiscovery). Information to remain the legal hold, it is not only limited to documents on paper, but also to electronically stored information-from Word documents, Excel file, email communication with images, sound, website logs, etc.
More and more companies have started to pay attention to eDiscovery litigation as required eDiscovery files have cost the industry giants millions of dollars in fines. In the famous Zubulake v. UBS Warburg case, Judge Scheindlin awarded a total of $ 29m to Laura Zubulake who accused his former employer UBS Warburg, one of the big names in banking, for sex discrimination and illegal retaliation. Despite court orders that were issued to preserve all relevant information, it was found that the employer had deliberately deleted relevant emails. The court also noted that the lawyer UBS Warburg was partly responsible for that damage because it had not been able to find, preserve, and to timely produce relevant information. Merck & Co., Inc., a pharmaceutical conglomerate, lost $ 253M in a lawsuit filed by the family of Robert Ernst, a marathon runner who is the cause of death was related to the long-term effects of using Vioxx, produced by Merck painkiller. Lawyer plaintiff argued that Merck rushed Vioxx to the market without proper safety testing to compete with Pfizer Inc. Celebrex, then played down the potential risk to the heart. Discovered emails sent by the chief scientist Merck interrogation group Vioxx contributed to the outcome of the case. Morgan Stanley, another financial giant, was sentenced to pay billionaire financier Ron Perelman more than $ 1.4bn after losing the case related to 1998 sales Perelman on his Coleman camping gear company to Sunbeam. A major factor in the outcome of the case was the inability to produce the requested information because of poorly performed eDiscovery.
The Legal Hold Process
A legal hold process is composed of three basic requirements.
Hold announcement. When an organization learns to pending or reasonably anticipated litigation to, are obliged to keep all relevant information. The Agency shall inform employees about the need to preserve relevant information and must also have a written policy with respect to the legal status of pending process. Determine the value of the information stored portion lies with the ability of lawyers’ organization and the current document preservation policy.
separate storage for ESI. Because of the significant risks associated with waste, lose, or do not have access to electronic data stored, segregated storage should be utilized to their ESI.
Continued preservation obligation. When litigation notice is served, all future relevant electronic communication should also be preserved as part of the legal hold
Chapter 15 Information Nation Warrior :. Information Management Compliance Boot Camp (Randolph A. Kahn, ESQ and Barclay T. Blair) was what institutions should include developing Legal Hold process: A strategy specifically for the legal department to provide Legal Hold notice to the rest of the employees of the companies, contours and updated training for employees responsible and preservation procedures, standard method to provide legal Hold announcement to employees, a statement from the leaders or training organization manuals that emphasizes the commitment of the Agency for data and information management compliance, and to ensure that employees are following these rules .