Organizations that use Gmail for business communications need a way to preserve and extract discoverable information in the event of litigation. But that’s harder than it would appear at first glance.
This is the first in a three-part blog series explaining:
- why Gmail data is an important data source for modern ediscovery;
- why Gmail data can be difficult to preserve, collect, and review; and
- how Hanzo helps enterprises manage Gmail discovery quickly, affordably, and simply.
Let’s start by considering first what discoverable data may be found in Gmail.
Why Does Gmail Matter to Ediscovery?
Whatever type of organization you work for, if you use Gmail, chances are that there’s information in your team members’ Gmail accounts that relates directly to your core business. After all, a Gmail account includes all of the clearly discoverable elements that would be found in any other email account.
For example, a custodian’s Gmail might contain:
- contracts with clients or with service providers,
- internal communications about product development and intellectual property,
- product specification sheets,
- marketing campaign drafts, and
- inquiries from customers along with their corresponding answers.
As such, you must integrate the full contents of your Gmail accounts, including messages and any attachments, into your information governance plan and make them accessible in the event of an internal investigation, regulatory compliance inquiry, or ediscovery matter.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) Discovery Scope and Limits
(1) Scope in General. … Parties may obtain discovery regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party’s claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37(e) Failure to Preserve Electronically Stored Information
If electronically stored information that should have been preserved in the anticipation or conduct of litigation is lost because a party failed to take reasonable steps to preserve it, and it cannot be restored or replaced through additional discovery, the court [may impose sanctions].
So, how do you get discoverable data out of Gmail, and what challenges may arise in the process? We’ll cover that in the next installment of this blog series.