In an article published on August 14 in Construction Executive,Judah Lifschitz discusses electronically stored information and how construction companies can avoid “e-trouble.” If not used carefully and properly, emails and other electronically stored information will serve as “truth serum” in court. Attorneys can simply read an email to know employees’ thoughts or actions, meaning an impulsive email or social media post will most likely come back to haunt the company.
One way to avoid e-trouble, Lifschitz explains, is to create and implement a document retention policy. “Documents should be retained for the duration of their useful life – and no longer,” he states.However, a well-drafted document retention policy is not enough. “Implementation and enforcement are critical to avoiding E-Trouble and reducing electronic discovery and document production costs,” he shares. “A recent study found that while two-thirds of the companies surveyed have a document retention policy in effect, almost half of them don’t actively enforce it.”
Additionally, Lifschitz cautions to be sure employees are using email appropriately. “Do not send ‘ammunition’ that the other side can use against the company. If there are company inside jokes, lingo or nicknames for other staff members, clients or project personnel, do not use them in emails,” he explains. “Additionally, ensure employees are not using company email accounts for inappropriate personal business.” He also emphasizes to not send an email when upset. “At trial, opposition may use an angry email to portray the sender as a bullheaded and unreasonable general contractor who put a project on the fast-track to attorneys and costly litigation.”
For the full article, click here.