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North Carolina's Revised Rules Of Civil Procedure Regarding Electronically Stored Information

Revisions to the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure became effective to actions filed on or after October 1, 2011. A blacklined version showing the changes wrought by a law titled  an  "Act to clarify the procedure for discovery of electronically stored information and to make conforming changes to the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure" is here.  

You all are probably  familiar with these amendments already, as I'm behind the curve on this subject.. There's lots out there on the web, way earlier than this post, from other law firms. Like here, here and here.  There are at least 39 states which have addressed the issue of e-discovery.  Here's the most current listing I've seen.

On the subject of other North Carolina changes, the North Carolina Bar Association has put together a comprehensive bulletin which is a "summary of new laws affecting North Carolina lawyers."  One of the new laws you should look at, beyond the ESI-specific changes, is North Carolina's adoption of the Uniform Interstate Discovery and Depositions Act as N..C. Gen Stat. §§1F-1 to 7.  The Act defines clear procedures for an out of state litigant to get a subpoena to depose a witness (or to obtain documents) in North Carolina.  It also elucidates the procedure for a  litigant to in a North Carolina case to send a subpoena outside of North Carolina.  These procedures kick into effect on December 1, and apply to actions filed on or after that date.

 Definition of ESI Includes Metadata 

Rule 26 now contains a definition of ESI, though it is limited to the subcategory of metadata and whether that should be included in production It says that only limited metadata must be produced, absent an agreement between counsel:

For the purposes of these rules regarding discovery, the phrase 'electronically stored information' includes reasonably accessible metadata that will enable the discovering party to have the ability to access such information as the date sent, date received, author, and recipients. The phrase does not include other metadata unless the parties agree otherwise or the court orders otherwise upon motion of a party and a showing of good cause for the production of certain metadata

Recovery of Costs Of Production Of ESI

In a change which is destined to become the source of a good bit of pretrial wrangling given the high cost often involved in the gathering and production of ESI, Revised Rule 26(b)(3) now empowers the Court to "specify conditions for the discovery," specifically "including allocation of discovery costs."

Read this article in its entirety on North Carolina Business Litigation Report, a blog for lawyers focusing on issues of North Carolina business law and the day-to-day practice of business litigation in North Carolina courts.

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