The ‘Discovery of Things’: How the IoT Affects FRCP, Data Access

Source: Legaltech News

By Ricci Dipshan

The slide into a data-centric world did not happen overnight — nor did it happen gradually. Indeed, the legal industry is just one of many struggling to catch up with the complexities and responsibilities of a world built in bytes. And while legal tech has aided in this transition, it is far from the only force aiming to smooth's the legal industry's landing in the 21st century.

In December 2015, for example, new amendments to the  Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sought to standardize and clearly define requirements concerning proportionality in the discovery processes, rule 26, and the preservation of electronically store information (ESI), rule 37(e).

In the discovery processes, rule 26 set the guidelines for requesting evidence, noting that discovery demands must be relative to the needs of the case, and be evaluated by six factors, including "the parties' relative access to relevant information, the parties' resources,” and "and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit.”

While the complexities that arise when applying the FRCP rules to the IoT, some downplay the amendments' impact on discovery as whole, noting that as long data is relevant, no matter what its source, it's ground for discovery.

"I think that as we become more and more mobile and our devices, appliances and vehicles, among other things, create data that may be directly relevant to matters in dispute, the production and disclosure of that information won't necessarily be impacted by the amendments; as long as the data sought is directly related to the claims and not part of an overly broad discovery strategy," said Mark Yacano, global practice leader, managed legal services at Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Read more of this feature at Legaltech News.

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