Presentation on theme: "Effective Document Retention: Lean, Mean, But Not Spoiling You or Your Lawsuit Effective Document Retention: Lean, Mean, But Not Spoiling You or Your Lawsuit."— Presentation transcript:
Effective Document Retention: Lean, Mean, But Not Spoiling You or Your Lawsuit Effective Document Retention: Lean, Mean, But Not Spoiling You or Your Lawsuit Carol A. Peterson Assistant General Counsel, 3M Company Thomas Tinkham Stewart D. Aaron Shari L. Jerde Dorsey & Whitney LLP Carol A. Peterson Assistant General Counsel, 3M Company Thomas Tinkham Stewart D. Aaron Shari L. Jerde Dorsey & Whitney LLP
Dangerous Practices Cleaning your files in anticipation of suit Assuming employees will file Storing unorganized paper or electronic material Not collecting documents after notice of claim Not identifying critical documents Violating laws on record retention
Best Practices Issue a Litigation Hold Identify Key Players Develop a plan to address electronic discovery Maintain an on-going role in document preservation and collection
The CSFB Document Retention Policy [N]o documents related to a transaction may be destroyed if (i) CSFB has been made a party to litigation involving such transaction or has received a subpoena which calls for the production of such documents or (ii) it is reasonably likely that litigation may be commenced in connection with such transaction or any matter relating to CSFB's involvement therein.
On or about December 4, 2000, at approximately 6:20 p.m. EST, CSFB's "Global Head of Execution - Technology Group" sent an to Quatronne: With the recent tumble in stock prices, and many deals now trading below issue price, I understand the securities litigation bar is mounting an all out assault on broken tech IPOs.
December 4, to Quatronne: (contd) In the spirit of the end of the year (and the slow down in corporate finance work) you may want to send around a memo to all corporate finance bankers (and their assistants) reminding them of the CSFB document retention policy and suggesting that before they leave for the holidays, they should catch up on file cleanup. Today, it's administrative housekeeping. In January, it could be improper destruction of evidence.
On or about December 4, 2000, at approximately 8:13 p.m. EST, with the authorization of Quattrone, the Head of Execution sent an to members of the Technology Group: With the recent tumble in stock prices, and many deals now trading below issue price, the securities litigation bar is expected to [sic] an all out assault on broken tech IPOs. In the spirit of the end of the year (and the slow down in corporate finance work), we want to reminding [sic] you of the CSFB document retention policy. The full policy can be found at GlobalIBD/lcd/doc_retention_us.html...
December 4, to members of the Technology Group: (contd) Note that if a lawsuit is instituted, our normal document retention policy is suspended and any cleaning of files is prohibited under the CSFB guidelines (since it constitutes the destruction of evidence). We strongly suggest that before you leave for the holidays, you should catch up on file cleaning.
Eighth Circuit View On Spoliation Of Evidence
The district court has the authority to impose sanctions for spoliation of evidence where: (1) a party destroys evidence that he knew or should have known was relevant to litigation and (2) the destruction prejudices the opposing party.
Adverse Inference Jury Instructions The Eighth Circuit has identified three factors for the district court to assess in determining whether an adverse inference jury instruction is appropriate when evidence is destroyed pursuant to a companys document retention policy:
Whether the policy is reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances surrounding the relevant documents; Whether lawsuits concerning the complaint or related complaints have been filed, as well as the frequency and magnitude of such complaints; and Whether the document retention policy was instituted in bad faith.
Where a routine document retention policy has been followed... we now clarify that there must be some indication of an intent to destroy the evidence for the purpose of obstructing or suppressing the truth in order to impose the sanction of an adverse inference instruction. Stevenson v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 354 F.2d 739, 747 (8th Cir. 2004)
Record Retention: The Five Questions Why Who What How long What again
Why? Business needs Statutory requirements Litigation obligations Minimize storage Preserve critical records Adequately organize
Who? Senior-level support critical Clearly defined ownership Organizational structure Usually within administrative services, IT, Legal, sometimes independent Departmental coordination
What? Inventory of records –Documents –Electronic records –Other items –Third-party records that you control Tools available
How Long? Assessment of needs –Business needs –Statutory requirements –Litigation obligations Keep it simple
What Content? Every type of record Record categories Retention periods Destruction procedures Record creation (including ) guidelines Litigation/investigation holds
Making It Work Communicate to employees Provide ongoing support Periodic reminders Incentives/certifications/forced compliance Be willing to modify Make it okay and easy to destroy useless documents and records