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Litigation in Limbo: A Surprising Threat to eDiscovery

What happens when the information you need for your case simply disappears? This year, some attorneys will have to answer that question as Google removes all traces of Google+ from the internet.

The deletion of the social media platform will have little impact on the average internet user. In fact, at the height of its popularity, only 11% of registered Google+ account holders were actively visiting the site. However, these statistics provide little comfort for the e-discovery professionals who must recover information for active cases.

In this blog article, we’ll attempt to address some of the questions facing attorneys and e-discovery providers, like First Legal.


How common are requests for e-discovery?

According to the American Bar Association, requests for e-discovery have risen consistently over the past few years. Their study reports that “68 percent of respondents said they received an e-discovery request on behalf of their client, compared to 64 percent in 2017 and 2016, and 62 percent in 2015.”

These rising requests are heavily correlated to practice specialties. Over 90% of employment and labor law firms received e-discovery requests. Personal injury firms followed closely behind with an 89% request rate. In light of these statistics, the need to collect and preserve data will only increase.


Is there any way to prevent the loss of important data?

Communications platforms like Google are responsible for their own data preservation, except in cases where subpoenas have already been issued. In those cases, Google is legally required to keep a record of the requested information.


How will this impact future litigation?

The removal of Google+ raises important questions for the future. At the moment, individual litigants may be personally responsible for preserving information from the platform. Of course, this will be particularly difficult in cases where the litigation itself isn’t anticipated. Unless the case emerges before April, it may be impossible to determine whether information from Google+ can be put on litigation hold.

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