Extract from Zapproved’s article “What is a Trigger Event?”
What is a Trigger Event?
A trigger event is an indicator to an ediscovery professional that a litigation matter or regulatory investigation is likely to follow, which then triggers the duty to preserve potentially relevant evidence. Essentially, a trigger event is the first domino in the chain-reaction that is litigation response and ediscovery.
Why is Recognizing a Trigger Event So Important
The duty to preserve data after a trigger event is critical, because in civil litigation, justice depends on complete information. If a party fails to recognize a trigger event and doesn’t implement preservation efforts quickly enough, critical evidence can be lost or spoliated.
Without that evidence, the court hearing the case may be unable to discern what actually happened between the parties. Therefore, the court has the authority to impose costly sanctions against a party that fails to preserve evidence. These sanctions can range from monetary penalties to jury instructions about the loss of evidence or even judgment against the spoliating party.
Just as critically, an organization that has been wronged, or wrongfully accused, needs complete and accurate information so that it can prosecute the case or defend itself.