I think my former business partner is going to sue my company for alleged breach of employment contract…how can I be sure that I’m compliant in North Carolina with regarding to backing up all of our email/digital correspondence when we worked together from 2012 – June 1014? I’ve heard about E-discovery rules? What are those?

stephen m corby

It is advisable for you to seek experienced legal counsel regarding the lawsuit you describe in your question. The Law Office of Stephen M. Corby, in Charlotte, is a premier corporate law firm in North Carolina, with business attorneys experienced in providing business legal services including those dealing with electronic discovery.

Electronic discovery (or e-discovery or ediscovery) refers to discovery in civil litigation or government investigations which deals with the exchange of information in electronic format.  These data are often reviewed for privilege and relevance before being turned over to opposing counsel.

Data are identified as potentially relevant by attorneys and placed on legal hold.  Evidence is then extracted and analyzed using digital forensic procedures, and is reviewed using a document review platform.

Most states today have laws in place that govern the use of electronic data for evidence in civil and criminal cases.  North Carolina is no exception.

Highlights of the North Carolina E-Discovery Law for creating a Discovery Plan

  • No earlier than 40 days after a Complaint is filed, any party may request a meeting regarding discovery, and if such a request is filed, the parties shall meet (in person or by phone or videoconference) not less than 21 days after the initial request unless agreed otherwise by the parties.
  • If a discovery plan is agreed upon, the plan shall be submitted to the court within 14 days after the meeting. The parties may request a conference with the court regarding the plan, but if the parties do not agree upon a discovery plan, they shall submit to the court within 14 days after the meeting a joint report containing those parts of a discovery plan upon which they agree and the position of each of the parties on the parts upon which they disagree.
  • A discovery plan shall contain: (1) a statement of the issues, (2) a proposed plan and schedule of discovery, (3) with respect to electronically stored information and if appropriate, a reference to the preservation of such information, the media form, format, or procedures by which such information will be produced, the allocation of the costs of preservation, production, and, if necessary, restoration, of such information, the method for asserting or preserving claims of privilege or work product, and the method for asserting or preserving confidentiality and proprietary status, (4) any limitations proposed to be placed on discovery, including if appropriate, that discovery be conducted in phases or be limited to or focused on particular issues, and (5) when discovery should be completed.

NOTE:  For a complete explanation of E-Discovery laws in North Carolina, please refer to http://litigation.ncbar.org/newsletters/thelitigatorfebruary2012/ediscovercivilprocedures

There are other aspects of North Carolina business law to be considered when in the realm of E-Discovery.  Contact Corby Law today for a consultation about your business legal issues.  One of our experienced business attorneys can advise in the particulars of your North Carolina business litigation concerns.

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