Preserving Evidence During a Litigation Hold Part 1
As you and your crew are busy completing a current construction project, you and the owner find yourself in a breach of contract dispute. The next thing you know, you have received a litigation hold letter from an attorney. From our experience, our Miami construction attorneys know that litigation hold notices must be responded to properly and promptly. We will discuss what a litigation hold is and the types of evidence that should be preserved in both this article and part two.
What is a Litigation Hold Letter?
A litigation hold is a written document which advises you to preserve relevant documents and electronically stored information due to possible litigation until the obligation no longer applies. Your own attorney may also send you a notice to suspend your routine document retention and destruction policies in order to preserve relevant evidence in anticipation of a future litigation.
Why Preserving Evidence is Critical
Preserving evidence is not to be taken lightly. Once upon a time, the discovery process was easy when all files could be found in a file cabinet of some sort. However, today, we live in a virtual world in which everything from text messages to voicemails—basically any electronically stored information—can be sanctioned for preservation. In construction, you must hope for the best but plan for the worst. It is advisable that you create and implement a preservation policy that directs key people on how to preserve relevant documentation in the event of a foreseeable litigation.
What If Something is Deleted?
It is possible that some evidence may be deleted either by accident or on purpose. Notwithstanding, some information can be recovered after deletion from a computer. This is why it may be a good idea to hire a third party to gather your documentation for you especially if you are too busy or overwhelmed by the data preserving process. The destruction of potentially relevant documents or data is known as spoliation of evidence and can lead to severe consequences in litigation. If you believe documents have been deleted, consult a Miami construction attorney. If the courts find that sanctioned parties have failed to preserve evidence that existed and was critical to the opposing party’s case, the courts may impose sanctions and further litigation.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.