This is the fourth in a series of articles detailing how e-discovery costs can be contained using mutually agreed-upon terms in commercial contracts to limit discovery (Parts 1, 2 and 3). In this installment, we show you how to use those contracts to limit the sources of data from which e-discovery can be drawn.
The major challenge of e-discovery is managing risk while controlling costs. A big chunk of most companies’ e-discovery budgets is eaten up by dealing with data that everyone involved knows is either irrelevant or duplicative. That data still has to be included, however, because of the combination of overbroad discovery requests and the belt and suspenders mindset imposed by the fear of the sanctions that may result from taking a more aggressive stance to control costs in the midst of litigation. The problem to avoid, then, is spending money to collect, review and produce documents from data sources that almost certainly will be irrelevant or duplicative of materials already produced. Designating the available sources of data for both sides prior to the onset of litigation will significantly reduce these costs. The less you collect, review and produce, the less it costs. If both sides are comfortable with including this idea in the contract, it’s smart to agree at that point, before tempers get hot.