Exterro: Why Do US Legal Hold Requirements Matter for International Companies?

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Extract from Exterro’s article “Why Do US Legal Hold Requirements Matter for International Companies?”

In the face of an increasingly interconnected global economy, international enterprises based in Europe and across the world must consider the data risks they are exposed to more broadly than ever before. While the GDPR remains the central regulation governing how they manage data, other international standards can and do frequently apply. One such set of requirements are those governing the discovery process as part of civil litigation in the United States.

International companies based in Europe may fall under the jurisdiction of US civil courts if they:

  • Operate under their own banner in the US 
  • Own, partner, or have affiliations with companies in the US
  • Enter contracts with firms in the US

In the US, and to a lesser extent in other countries with Anglo-American legal procedures, pre-trial discovery is a critical component of the civil litigation process. In it, both parties to the litigation exchange any information that has evidentiary value to the matter in dispute under the supervision of the court. While this whitepaper does not delve deeply into the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (the rules governing civil litigation in the US), the rules prevent parties from:

  • Hiding or obscuring relevant data
  • Deleting or destroying incriminating data
  • Altering electronic metadata (which may have probative value)

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