12 Feb “Bullet-Proof” Yourself
This may not be a DIY project.
The past few years have seen some famous cases of government officials destroying, or otherwise losing, emails and text messages. Some famous cases come to mind including one involving a presidential candidate as well as those of high ranking FBI officials. Needless to say, it usually does not turn out well when this happens.
Lawyers have a term for this. It’s called sploliation. The spoliation of evidence is the intentional, reckless, or negligent withholding, hiding, altering, fabricating, or destroying of evidence relevant to a legal proceeding.
Your duty preserve evidence is triggered once a lawsuit is reasonably anticipated. The duty extends to any evidence that you know, or reasonably should know, is relevant to the suit, including electronically stored information. Like government officials, failure to keep this evidence can have bad consequences for the party involved as well as their lawyer.
So how can you protect yourself, or your lawyer, if you find yourself involved in a lawsuit? We recommend a three step plan that virtually bullet-proofs yourself against spoliation.
Step 1 – Image your Cell Phone. A “Physical Image” is the Gold Standard. This will save text messages (SMS, MMS, etc.), e-mails, web history, pictures, etc.
Step 2 – Image your Laptop/Computer. Again, ideally you will obtain a “Physical Image.” This saves e-mails, web history, computer usage – everything reasonable.
Step 3 – Archive your e-mail. Every email system is different, so no one solution fits all. But you do need to save it.
Do these three steps* and you are “bullet-proof.” If you need help – and most will, call us. It’s what we do!
- For most people. If you store your stuff in the cloud, there might be more!