Extract from Jon Berger’s article “E-Discovery Data Challenges in Environmental Contamination Litigation”
Both the cleanup of and payments for natural resource damages caused by contaminants released into the air and water trigger complex litigation, which in turn triggers a host of complex, yet common e-discovery data and analytical problems. These problems burden and stress both the e-discovery team and the litigation support system employed.
The team and system have to deal with site-specific discovery—an inventory of sites and releases—and non-site-specific discovery dealing with all governmental discussions on policy and funding surrounding the contaminant exposure pathways and damages. Knowing how to directly deal with these problems is essential.
Potential E-Discovery Data Problems Arising from Natural Resource Damage Litigation
1. Defendants ask for and are granted massive pretrial discovery. This usually takes the form of court-ordered detailed inventories of sites and releases.
2. The massive amount of required data is found in dispersed repositories and goes back several decades. The dispersed data must be collected and synthesized before any site investigations can begin.