Extract from Dave Ruel’s article “Ediscovery: How the Federal Rules Apply in the Digital Age”
A lot has changed since the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) were first enacted in 1938. Yet the goals of discovery—and the Rules governing its conduct—remain as simple now as they were then. In a nutshell, parties should be able to identify, review, produce, and use relevant data to establish their claims and defenses during litigation and enable their opponents to do the same so that the deciding court hears a full and fair presentation of the issues.
The Rules are outcome-oriented; they don’t care how litigants preserve or produce information, so long as they do. They don’t care where that information comes from or what device or application generates it. They only care that it’s ultimately available for use in litigation.
In this sense, ediscovery isn’t so much a journey as it is a destination. If litigants arrive at the correct location, the FRCP aren’t concerned with what route they took to reach that point or what vehicle they traveled in.
That’s good for the FRCP’s longevity and applicability through the dramatic waves of change since 1938. Because the Rules focus on the outcome—an exchange of relevant information between litigants—ediscovery can continually expand to accommodate new forms of data.
Here’s how the Rules encompass current data sources in the digital age.