Shulman Hodges & Bastian LLP

What should be included in a litigation preparedness plan

Besides a dip in revenue and the specter of business slowdowns, business owners are most likely concerned about lawsuits against their companies. After all, the costs of defending a lawsuit are likely just as expensive as being liable for civil judgments. Additionally, the additional time spent in defending lawsuits makes it difficult (especially for small businesses) to maintain their enterprises in the midst of a contested lawsuit.

With that said, the importance of having a litigation preparedness plan cannot be understated. This post will highlight a few things that should be incorporated in your plan. 

Create and implement a document retention plan - A business, no matter how small, should have a standard document retention policy. This does not mean that every document should be preserved. Rather, a consistent schedule for destroying old documents should be followed.

Litigation hold procedures - In the same vein, litigation hold procedures should be implemented to preserve relevant documents and electronic data that can reasonably be anticipated to lead to discoverable evidence. These procedures are critical to avoiding penalties for unwittingly destroying evidence.

Make data custodians available to counsel - The critical nature of communication can also not be understated. With that, data custodians must be available to communicate with the company's lawyers so that counsel can know the company's data systems and disseminate instructions.

Continually revisit and update plans - Like any other emergency procedures, they cannot be kept in a vacuum. Litigation preparedness plans must be reviewed from time to time to make sure that they comply with the changing needs of litigation.

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