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Have a Reasonable Document Retention Policy? Then Follow it!

And if you don’t have a reasonable document retention policy, create one and follow it.

After finding out certain relevant e-mails had been deleted, PSC immediately motioned to compel discovery and impose sanctions on BIPI. The deleted e-mails were particularly relevant because they pertained to the drug-in-suit, Pradaxa, and were in the possession of an employee who supervised Pradaxa’s development. The Court even noted that “[t]here is no question that [the employee’s] custodial file would have included documents relevant to the instant litigation.

However, BIPI contended that because they followed their document retention policy, which was deemed reasonable, they should be able to escape fault. As it turns out, BIPI was correct. In an opinion dated September 25, 2013, the Southern District of Illinois held that because BIPI had a reasonable document retention policy, which they fully complied with, sanctions were not warranted. BIPI’s document retention policy called for leaving “all of the employee’s email, user share and hard drive documents in place until 30 days after the employee’s final day with BIPI. After those 30 days, the documents are deleted…Further, when a litigation hold is released, the document retention policy is to delete all documents maintained exclusively under the hold within 24 hours.”


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