Electronic Evidence and the Large Document Case: Common Evidence Problems 

June, 2003 - Patricia L Casey

Discovery for a New Millennium I. THE CHALLENGES OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE Computer usage now pervades all elements of society. Most businesses and many individuals conduct a significant percentage of communications through electronic media. E-mail, facilitated by the Internet, has become the dominate form of inter-office and intra-office communication. Businesses are also managed in a wide variety of electronic formats, including spreadsheet programs, databases and computer aided design tools. The proliferation of computers and other electronic forms of communication (such as PDA devices and wireless two-way e-mail) exponentially increase the volume of electronic information. Electronic mail exchanges have replaced telephone calls. This increase in the use of computers creates a number of challenges for litigators, including the collection, management and introduction of electronic evidence. More than five years ago, the Manual for Complex Litigation reached this conclusion, noting that “computerized data have become commonplace in litigation.” A typical production of documents that 15 years ago might have involved less than 1,000 pages of documents can now involve 10,000 or more, and may include information contained in electronic formats that are not readily convertible to paper. More complicated cases can sometimes involve millions of pages of information. This paper explores issues particular to electronic evidence and discusses related challenges pertaining to the large document case that is often the offspring of electronic dominated litigation, including production of electronic data and managing the data in litigation.



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